Questions about Minolta CLE (searched archives)

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by trex|1, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Hi all,
    <p>
    Just picked up a cherry CLE with the standard 40mm CLE lens. I have a few questions.

    <p>
    1. The LEDs sometimes disappear, and if I toggle the shutter dial back and forth, reappear. Sounds
    like the dirt on the contacts problem, right? Anyone give me a quick step by step to removing the
    dial and where to clean?
    <p>
    2. What is the close focus limit of the RF? If I am right, an M6 goes down to 0.7. It appears that
    the CLE only goes to 0.8. Is this correct?
    <p>
    3. What are the limits of the lenses I can use? For example can I focus a 90mm 2.8 at its closest
    range? How about a 50mm or 40mm 1.4?<p>
    4. Although the manual says that the low speed is 1/2 sec, in fact the shutter will stay open a long
    time in low light. I heard that Minolta licensed this technology to Olympus. OM cameras long
    shutter speeds reach into the minutes. Could the CLE be the same?<p>5. The 40mm lens has
    haze inside which can only be seen when a very bright line is shined through. Should I ignore this?
    Is it easy to open up and clean?
    <p>Thanks and BTW, I have checked the archives but cannot find answers. Even in the case of
    Justin's repair site, I cannot see where to clean the contacts under the speed dial.
     
  2. I can answer No.1: The LEDs disappear once you leave AE mode; manual is non-metered. If you had a contacts problem the LEDs would flicker or something like that.
     
  3. No it is in AE mode that it does this. I am assuming it is a contact problem, because moving the shutter dial fixes it for a while.
     
  4. "5. The 40mm lens has haze inside which can only be seen when a very bright line is shined through. Should I ignore this? Is it easy to open up and clean?"

    Is it easy for a pro so to do. Yes, it should be done. Send it to Sherry or DAG --- you'll be glad that you did.
     
  5. I know the CLE has a big problem with the finger contact not working under certain conditions.
    The finger contact triggers the LEDs, so it's most likely this contact and not the LEDs
    themselves. It's numerous little glitches like this that has made me park my CLE for the past
    10 years. It's a great camera, but the metering is deeply frustrating.
     
  6. "3. What are the limits of the lenses I can use? For example can I focus a 90mm 2.8 at its closest range? How about a 50mm or 40mm 1.4?"

    You should watch out for lenses that protrude into the camera such as the collapsable lenses and the dual range summicron. Such lenses can impact the light meter cell arm and damage the camera. Also lenses with "goggles" probably won't align with your rangefinder. Also some lenses won't bring up the right brightline in the rangefinder (I suspect a 35 would bring up the 28 and a 50 will bring up the 40 on the CLE).

    I've had a CLE in the past and I still have a CL, but the CL has slightly different brightlines.
     
  7. the cle doesn't have a metering arm, that's the cl.

    if you are not faint of heart, spray some contact cleaner into and around the shutter
    speed dial and then just keep turning the dial back and forth for awhile. it worked for
    me, i was about to send it off for a cla and decided what the heck.
    metering is off the film or the patterned shutter curtain and is very accurate with b&w
    film.
     
  8. Hi everyone,

    I took apart the shutter dial, and there is really not much you can do in there. I did put some alcohol in the place where the shutter firing pin goes, and it seemed to do the trick, but now the LEDs are playing hide and seek again. The only problem seems to be the dissappearing LEDs. The shutter seems a bit loud too.

    Another thing which I thought was interesting was that the RF patch moves in coordination with the frame lines to compensate for parallax.

    I also have a G2, and I am really agonizing over which one to keep.
     
  9. Sometimes just a couple brisk rotations of the dial in each direction will clean it up.Eventually a technician will need to dig in there and clean the contacts, but it doesn't require them to track down new parts or anything.

    If you're tripping the shutter without film in the camera you get odd speeds and different sounds -- the meter takes its last reading off the film plane, and of course reads the pressure plate as being 100% black.

    The CL and CLE have very little in common beyond film format and lens mount.
     
  10. To answer another question, I've gotten accurate speeds down to five or six seconds using AE.
     
  11. The CLE RF will decouple at .8m min. distance.

    All lenses with close focus longer than that will work fine. For the others (like the 40/1.4), the RF patch will stop moving at .8m. The lenses can still be used down to .8m of course.

    Roland.
     
  12. 1/ As others have suggested you need to rotate the shutter dial back and forth briskly to help clear the build up off the contacts. One thing you may like to do is to change the batteries for fresh ones. You cant be sure how long they have been in the camera and also if they are A76 then change them for Silver Oxide 76 batteries instead as the Alkaline ones can get erratic when then get low. If it still occurs then time for a competent technician to clean it.

    2/ Yes the CLE only has rangefinder coupling to 80cm but you can still focus lenses below this but you have to estimate.

    3/ The CLE does have 50% greater effective base length than the CL as such it is capable of focusing a 90mm f2.8 wide open. Thats about its limit though a 90mm f2.0 it will struggle with. The Nokton 40mm f1.4 will work fine on a CLE as even the CL can focus this lens with its lower base length. It doesnt have 50mm framelines so this would be more annoying with a 50mm f1.4 than its ability to focus it, which it could do.

    4/ The half second shutter speed limit referenced in the manual specifications is an EV range for a given film speed and aperture with the 40mm lens. Naturally when you think about it logically the camera is capable of opening longer as its has 1 second on the dial for its manual speeds. Most CLE's will stay open for 2 seconds in Auto and some are specced a bit differently and will open to about 5 or 6 seconds.

    5/ It depends how great the haze is. It will eventually get to the stage where it will effect picture quality. The 40mm lenses arent that valuable by Leica standards so you have to weigh up if the cost to have it properly cleaned. Double check that its definitely haze. I have seen one instance when there was lens separation between cemented elements but this is a very rare occurrence.
     
  13. Hi Joel,

    The shutter actually seems to stay open forever, I am pretty sure it is the same
    setup as the OM-2.

    The lens looks crystal clear. Even if I look at bright sunlight reflections through it,
    they are clear and free of flare. The haze is there but you have to look at the lens
    obliquely to even see it. I am pretty sure it is no problem, but I had read on the net
    that it was.

    Yesterday I noticed the 1/1000 speed acting up. It would sometimes behave like B,
    and stay open as long as the shutter was pressed. I guess it will need to be
    repaired.
     
  14. try it with film in the camera before you send it off for repair.
     
  15. How does the shutter dial come off? Special tools needed? I'd like to expose the electrical contacts under it for cleaning. My local repair guy retired, and the shop in the big city wants to "rebuild" any camera you bring in for $250+... I had my old CLE cleaned several times (about once per decade) after the diodes start acting crazy.
     
  16. "The shutter actually seems to stay open forever, I am pretty sure it is the same setup as the OM-2."

    "Yesterday I noticed the 1/1000 speed acting up. It would sometimes behave like B, and stay open as long as the shutter was pressed. I guess it will need to be repaired."

    The Olympus, who actually bought the patent off Minolta for their shutter metering system, has a greater EV range and will stay open longer, but the Minoltas do not when the electronics are operating perfectly and has been serviced properly. When the shutter starts staying open for longer periods as you describe then its suggest a greater problem. The 1000th staying open like its the B setting is further evidence of this.

    Joe has made a good suggestion in that is it doing these strange things with a film in it? Keeping in mind that the camera have an evaluating metering system that alters exposure as it meters off the film itself when the shutter is open. Without a film in it the camera just sees a black pressure plate and adjusts itself accordingly thinking its pitch black. So it may indicate a certain shutter reading off the curtain but then forced to change the actual speed it chooses when it reads nothing but the black pressure plate.
     
  17. Well, the CLE is a moot point now. I took it back to get the slow 1000 speed repaired, they sent it to Minolta and Minolta said "fuggedabadit!" and that was that. I know it can be fixed, but I choose not to pursue it. Back to the "click!, whizz!, sheet!" of the G2....
     
  18. I love this camera. I have the complete set and it is superb. the flash is the only thing that is temperamental an not always firing at first.
    The camera is so tactile and the shutter sound is splendid. I had mine serviced in the UK and had no problems at all. Needless to say I accumulated the whole set via ebay and six years later they are 30% cheaper, which is great if you are looking to buy, but is a sad reflection on the move to digital. Digital photography has rendered most film cameras virtually worthless.
     

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