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Buying a used Leica R4 / R5 / R6 / R7 ?

Points to look out for before buying
Points to look out for before buying
Leica R4 serial numbers start at 153xxxx
There are no particular problems with the Leica R series cameras . As you may be aware all electronic/mechanical equipment does , from time to time breakdown ...... It depends on the serial number of the camera you intend purchasing as to what you should look for before committing yourself to buying the equipment.On all R4 cameras starting from 153xxx & 154xxxxx and upwards , you should inspect the light seal around the green window on the back-plate ( this applies to all , including R7 ) for 'springiness' as these tend to perish causing a light leak( Also check the hinge seal ). The pre-view lever can develop a hairline crack that can only be discovered if you press sideways on the lever , this will eventually break . The take-up spool (grey part at the bottom) should be attached to the black body of the spool , if it is loose this can also snap the tangs off . ( Later R models have metal spool) . . Also, on all cameras, look for tiny bubbles appearing on the top-plate near the viewfinder eyepiece and at the wind and rewind ends of the top housing . These bubbles are generally caused by perspiration and acid produced by the body . The only remedy for this is a new top housing which is an expensive replacement part . The chrome R cameras are less prone to this !

Model R5/6/7
Purchasers of Leica R7 cameras should look closely at the ISO over-ride scale to see if the -3 -2 -1 +1 +2 +3 numbers appear in the top-most window . Sometimes this can break when the control is operated without releasing the locking button marked +/- . Also , on all R cameras check to see if the screen has been removed , look for scratch marks around the screen lug , which would indicate that the correct tool for exchanging the screen has not been used. This can lead to damage to the prism cradle/screen retaining catch which can be expensive to repair ................. Check to see if the strap lugs are loose , sometimes these can wobble about , but they should not come adrift from the body as they are secured by long screws which cannot work totally free ...... These are minor points that are
general wear & tear .
Camera Functions
As far as the operation of the R4/5 camera goes , first check the MANUAL setting by winding and selecting 1 second and with the programme selector set at 'm' . In the viewfinder the 'm' should light at the bottom of the viewfinder and on the left hand side speeds from 1 to 1/1000 should be displayed .In the small window the selected speed ( 1) should be visible . Rotate the speed dial and note the indicated speed in this little window , if there is a discrepancy between the dial and the displayed value , normally the tow-line requires replacement . The LED display should move up & down with varying ambient light , and also if the ring in the throat of the camera ,which engages with the lens is moved . The shutter , when released , should give the appropriate selected speed. Check ,without a lens attached , 1/1000 second , by opening the back of the camera and holding it to a bright light source and firing the shutter . You should see light across the whole of the film plane. If only the top half appears to be visible this indicates that the shutter requires servicing. Only test this on the 'm' setting as it is possible that a similar situation can occur in the automatic modes , but this can be because the automatic speeds have increased beyond a 1/2000 sec due to being operated without a lens attached.......SEE PRICE GUIDE...................
Automatic Operation
The 'a' (APERTURE PRIORITY SELECTIVE )setting is the selective measurement , which only takes readings from the larger of the two circles that can be viewed on the screen . So for accurate light measurement of a subjects face the camera is aligned with the central area over persons face and the release button is depressed to the first position when a slight force is met and the red 'a' symbol in the lower viewfinder will then extinguish to indicate that the value has be stored in memory so that the portrait can be re-composed if required . The exposure value is stored for 30 seconds max. as long as the button is held in this position. The shutter speed is determined automatically with regard to the diaphragm opening that has been selected ............................ The 'A' mode (APERTURE PRIORITY INTEGRATED ) is identical to the above but the whole area is metered and there is no facility to store the exposure value . Again the shutter speed is automatic and depends on the F stop setting .     (please note that the speed dial should be set to any speed except B , 100 , or X) ................................................. 'P' Mode gives a PROGRAMMED shutter and aperture . The lens should be stopped down to it's minimum F stop , the red 'P' symbol in the viewfinder will stop flashing to indicate that this has been done . This allows the shutter speed and aperture to vary proportionaly with the ambient light . Correct exposure will also be given if the lens is not stopped down , but the shutter speed will be at the higher levels and no depth of field can be obtained ...................................... The 'T' setting ( TIME PRIORITY ) also requires the lens to be fully stopped down , and the desired speed is selected ( this is used mainly for sport photography where a higher shutter speed may be required to capture fast moving events , with the aperture being automatically adjusted via the electronics . The 'T' symbol will stop flashing when the lens is set to minimum aperture to indicate correct operation . A correct exposure will still be obtained if this is not done as the circuitry can over-ride this and automatically change the shutter speed . Some other cameras cannot do this and faulty exposures can result ..... .................... On early cameras (153.....) the viewfinder diplay on the right hand side of the screen area changes from aperture to speed indication when moved from the 'T' position to the 'P' position , but the speeds only go down to 1/15 in the 'P' Programme mode . On later cameras the complete range of speeds is available in 'P' mode ................................... Other things to look out for
are that the strap lugs are not loose or worn as this indicates that the camera has had a lot of use . The viewfinder display should change from F stops to speeds between 'T' & 'P' without the scales sticking , as this would indicate that the camera had been dropped at some time ...................................... If you purchase an R4 camera with the serial number starting 158xxxx. then this is a later model and generally there should be little or no problems at all .................................. The best advice is for you to obtain a copy of the instruction book from the dealer/seller and familiarize yourself with the operation of the camera , and then put the theory into practice with hands-on use of the equipment before you buy . This
applies to any make of camera . Don't be put off by minor faults as these can be rectified reasonably quickly & cheaply . This is always a benefit when negotiating a price for the equipment . I am sure that you will be able to spot a problem with a camera if you are armed with some in depth information before parting with hard cash .

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