View Full Version : Considering Minolta CLE or NOT
leica M2 fan
Thinking a CLE might be fun to use. But, would I be better off with a Bessa R2A or R3A? What do you guys think? Taking all issues into account such as size, build quality, ease of use, durability or any known issues to look out for. Any thoughts will help, TIA. Am thinking the CLE with 28mm Rokkor or CV 28 2.5 might work.
Tony, what's wrong with your M2? :D
Want to try mine for a few days ?
The CLE is a wonderful and very strong camera. Very different to an M2. I like it a lot. Not as loud as a Bessa shutter but not in production anymore. The parts thing...
Rob's post says it all...the CL and M2 are VERY different experiences! I used (and loved) an M2 for years, finally succumbing to greed and sold it. I thought I could re-create the Leica "feel" with a CL. It lasted about a month and I realized that ONLY the M's are M's. Don't know about the CLE but my experience with the CL proved to me that the M2's a breed apart!
The CLE is a great camera - it took Leica 25 years to catch up with the M7. I've had a CLE now for about 6 years and it never lets me down. Maybe I'm lucky. With kodachrome, the exposures are almost always spot on. Yes I have a M6TTL and a M2, but for chrome I shoot with my CLE. It's also much smaller than the M7 and it fits niecely into our poket with the 40 Rokkor. If you're going to buy one, just check it works first.
Tony, the CLE is a friendly platform for a 28mm, though there's no Voigtlander 28 f/2.5... maybe you're thinking of the f/3.5? Generous room around the 28 framelines in the VF make it easy and fast to use. Build quality is very good.
There are concerns about the electronics that the CLE depends upon, and I've heard of a few dead CLE's, but surprisingly few. I've had mine since new in 1982, now a long-time favorite! Not only easy to use, with accurate metering, but so very compact and discreet. It can easily be mistaken for an older fixed-lens 35, not so serious... does not draw much attention to the user.
Other than the CL, the alternatives are all larger, so this is one major point to consider. Certainly there are reasons also to prefer the Zeiss-Ikon and Hexar-RF, while the Bessas may be a step down. Woops, where's my asbestos suit?
leica M2 fan
Will... Nothing wrong with M2 just sipping a little GAS.
Roland... Thanks for the offer, at this point it was just a thought.
Doug... Great ideas and of course meant 3.5.
Thanks again, good ideas to toss around much better than some of the stuff posted lately. :)
As much as the CLE is my favourite camera and a CL makes the perfect second body for it, if you are an M2 user then your set up for 35mm framelines. For me the CLE's and CL's are perfect for 40mm lens users. Do you have any 35mm lenses you use with your M2? If you're a 35mm lens user looking for a second body then I think a R2a would be more suited to you. The CLE is better built than the Bessas but I think the frameline conformity would probably be more important.
The CLE is better built than the Bessas but I think the frameline conformity would probably be more important.A good point to keep in mind. I am an M2 user too, and with it I choose 35 & 50, while the CLE is happy with 28 & 40. I can use the 28 also on the Z-I, Bessa R4, and Hexar RF, but I don't try to mismatch the 35, 40, and 50 on bodies without the designated framelines. So the 40's (Rokkor, Nokton, Pentax) go only on the CLEs.
in manual exposure mode the cle is un-metered which pretty much makes the meter uselses for me as I never use AE. Also uses averaging metering in AE, I'd much prefer centerweighted or spot. Not to mention the flimsy battery compartment cover that kept falling off (though this does not seem to be an issue for others). Oh, and the parts thing... Search RFF, many threads on this.
I've had CLE for a few months now and it's a nice camera. The feel is fantastic and I love how its fits in my hand - small and light, but solid. I shoot it with the CV 25mm mostly, using the whole VF to frame the image; this works fine for me. If I can find a reasonably priced 40mm Rokkor I'll add that lens to the arsenal and shoot my CLE even more.
I also shoot with a Bessa R2 and a Hexar RF. Though the Hexar is also a favorite, if the CLE had 35 or 50 framelines, I think I'd shoot with it all the time. I like it that much. Because I don't often need the motor drive, I find the Hexar's weight to be more than I'd like, especially side by side with the CLE.
The lack of aperture priority lock and the lack of metered manual are drawbacks, but if you like to shoot with aperture priority, I bet you'd be very happy with a CLE. On form factor alone, it beats out my Bessa R2 by a long way, which is the same size as your proposed R2A; For me, the CLE is much nicer to handle than the Bessa.
A good point to keep in mind. I am an M2 user too, and with it I choose 35 & 50, while the CLE is happy with 28 & 40. I can use the 28 also on the Z-I, Bessa R4, and Hexar RF, but I don't try to mismatch the 35, 40, and 50 on bodies without the designated framelines. So the 40's (Rokkor, Nokton, Pentax) go only on the CLEs.
I agree Doug. I know many file off lugs and use 40mm lenses with 35mm framelines and such but that never worked for me. Correct framelines are reasonably important to me but for others it hardly matters at all.
Most people claim CLE's and CL's are a good stepping stone to M's but for me it was the reverse. My old M3 didnt see alot of use but I loved the 40mm focal length so I gave the CLE and CL's a try and it got me back into rangerfinder photography again and never really used M's after that. But if you are an M user and you use 35 and 50mm lenses then I dont think the CLE would be the camera of choice. 40mm and 28mm are my most used focal lengths so the CLE is ideal.
Since you obviously like your M2, I think you'll probably like using the CLE. I use Leicas too and had an R2 for a while, but for me the CLE just seems like a closer match to Leica. It's all the "intagibles" nonsense, I'm sure, but one non-intangible for me, the nice soft shutter sound can't be beat.
(I hope this doesn't arouse the Bessa vs Leica shutter sound debate. I agree that the shutter volume between the two is about the same, but sound is different, and the CLE is more Leica-like in that department.)
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