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Buying a used Leica R3 / R3 Mot Camera

Points worth looking at

Points worth looking at
General Condition

Buying a used Leica Reflex R3/R3 Mot Camera?................. things to look out for are ....... Foam light trapping on back door & also at the hinge - perished ? Condition of prism silvering ( on some cameras this may have deteriorated) . Take-up spool -broken tangs ? Wear on strap lugs indicates heavy useage . Check eyepiece for balsam fracture and viewfinder shutter operation . Test the self-timer

Operating the Camera
Wind camera and remove lens ,  hold the diaphragm operating arm ( left hand side of bayonet ) and press release button , slowly allow the diaphragm operating arm to move upwards , then let go. If the mirror continues to move upwards and the shutter releases all is OK , if the operating lever stops moving and the shutter does not release , then the camera requires servicing . Check the ring that determines the aperture setting , it should move freely from the right hand side , ( at bottom of bayonet ring) to the left hand side and if released should return to it's rest position of it's own free will . If the ring ( which is operated by the lens third cam ) , does not return properly or sticks , this also indicates that the camera could do with a service. The above tests should be done with the camera in the portrait position and upside down , as it may work correctly when operated in the normal ( horizontal ) manner . Check that the memory is working by setting the camera on auto and spot metering , take an exposure reading through he viewfinder and observe the meter needle . If pointed at a light source giving , say , a 1/250 at f5.6 , half press the release button and the meter needle should drop to the bottom of the scale , indicating that the value has been stored . Point the camera to a darker subject while still holding the button half depressed , then release the shutter . The shutter speed should still be 1/250 . Alternatively , point the camera at a low light source that gives a slow speed , say 1/4 second , press and hold the release button so that the meter needle drops to the bottom of the scale , then still holding the button halfway point the camera at a bright light source and release the shutter . The shutter should still fire through at 1/4 second. If the above test proves OK then all is well , otherwise some attention to the electronics may be necessary . ( This also applies to the Integral setting - but there is no indication that the exposure value is stored , when the release button is half depressed . Other things to look out for are that the spool tangs are all intact , as these can break off . Put a used 35mm film through the camera and check the wind and film-transport is reasonably smooth . Try the eypiece shutter and double exposure switch make sure these return and operate smoothly . Check the battery chamber for corrosion , and check the strap lugs are not loose . If the camera has been dropped , it may not be apparent and can cause problems at a later date . Optical checks can be made on the camera to determine whether or not it has been subject to a fall , but you may only be able to see if there is any external damage to indicate this . A check of the body collimation will show how the camera has been treated . Checking the automatic and metering of the camera can only be done against another known , good , camera unless you have access to test equipment . The selective metering on the R3 is exceptionally good due to the fact that the photocell for the spot metering has an auxillary mirror with a very sharp cut-off point and an extremely narrow acceptance angle more so than  other cameras  including the Leica R4 . The Leicaflex SL has this same system which gives very accurate spot metering . Do not be put off by what may appear to be a greatly varying reading on the selective mode as against the integrated measurement , this can only be checked against an 18% grey card if you need to check it yourself .
To sum up , the R3 is a very good reliable camera , the mechanics and electronics are well built in a traditional manner utilizing six CDS photocells in three groups of two , with all six being used in the integrated measurment and just two cells with an auxillary mirror , in the selective mode . Memory lock is available in both modes , but is only indicated in the spot metering sytem . After a general service , the R3 would perform well for at least ten years before needing any further attention. All of the Leica lenses can be used as well as extension tubes etc. If the R3 mot is purchased then this will accept a motor winder and remote control unit , further expanding it's uses and versatility . There are three finishes , bright chrome , black chrome and Safari ( Green ) as well as a gold & snakeskin version .
Technical details
Vertical action CLS metal-blade focal plane shutter (Copal) continously variable adjustment from 4 secs. to 1/1000 sec. in automatic mode. X synchronized mechanical setting and B . Viewfinder display of selected manual speed , iris diaphragm setting via 'Judas' window . Self-timer ( mechanical - only R3 ) of 6 - 10 secs. Metering system utilizes 6 x CDS photo-cells in three groups of two . (1 group in base of mirror-box, 2 groups on pentaprism)19 layer vapour-deposited hinged mirror with 90% reflectivity ( 10% for meter) Two metering modes , Selective & Integrated , memory storage in both modes but only indicated in Selective ( Spot) by meter needle dropping to bottom of scale . Viewfinder magnification 3.75 x = 0.79 with 50mm lens at infinity , 92% of picture area shown . Meter needle readout of automatic speeds . Body-shell of die-cast aluminium , 0.8 mm thick brass top and bottom plates . Battery test button , ON/OFF switch . Exposure correction of +/- 2 f-stops , metering range 0.25 cd/sq.m to 32,000 cd/sq.m ( +1 Lv to +18Lv @ 100 ASA ).

Repair Guide