LEICA CL


THE CAMERA:

This is my 1973 Leica CL. Leica made these originally with the help of Minolta in Japan as a more affordable, more portable alternative to their M cameras. Sales were phenomenal and even taking a hit on the more expensive M's of the time so production was halted after just 3 years.

Like a lot of my hi-end cameras, I got this one for a song because of seller misinformation. It was sold as-is because of the famous broken take-up spool. The meter works, the shutter speeds all work. There is slight cosmetic damage around the black paint area of the lens plate just around the lens lock button.

I was told it was easy to replace the take-up spool so I started digging in the bottom of the camera and I knocked loose a corroded wire on the battery terminal. Crap, well, the meter DID work I ended up fixing it in a very MacGyver unorthodox way. I also had some parts removed that have to do with powering the shutter as you wind. I wound it without these parts on and it locked up my camera.

I had heard horror stories of CL's locking up and even astute repairmen couldn't fix them. I honestly began to cry... Then I remembered on one forum I read a fellow used to smack the side of the camera in the heel of his hand gently but sharply. I put it back together and smacked it twice and came to life. Whew. needless to say, I haven't replaced the broken spool but it works anyway by folding the end of the film back and slipping it behind the one remaining tooth.

FIXES:

I took off the top plate to clean things up a bit like gears and the RF optics. See my photos here of the procedure. It wasn't hard but Information on how to do it was very vague so I hope I can help with my tutorials.

I also mentioned above I fixed my battery terminal wire problem. Yes it was a hack, an extreme hack but it was free and it works. I suck at soldering, especially thin strand wire to a metal plate. It took so many attempts my wire ended up too short so I crimped on an extension and slipped the end under the terminal plate instead of soldering it. See my photos here of the procedure.

I also got an adapter to mount my collection of LTM, M39 threaded lenses. Don't buy the cheap ones made in China, or any other place for that matter. The lenses do mount but the "infinity' mark ends up straight up or even to the left of center, rather than at about 2:00 two o'clock. No problem for a 50mm lens but my 35mm Summaron didn't align the slot in the lens base with the RF arm correctly. I ended up getting an official Leica adapter ring.

The TTL metering is a little funky to get used too, it measures only the center 40% of the screen, which is totally desired as an almost spot meter but never the less, hard to get used to. I believe mine is even throughout exposure situations and is spot on with my brand new Gossen Digisix2 but the shutter speeds are all almost a stop off, overexposing slightly. so a meter compensation is all that's needed

Here is a sample image taken with this camera

MANUAL:

Here is an online owners manual


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