View Full Version : New CL User - Meter Confusion
Hi Leica CL users,
I just switched from a Hexar RF to a Leica CL. I really like the CL so far except I'm confused by the built-in meter. If I understand correctly, the meter works by telling you when the shutter speed and aperture are set correctly by moving the swinging arm to the center notch. Sometimes, it seems accurate - I tested it against a grey card and compared it with my Minolta Autometer 3.
But it sometimes seems to give me readings that have to be inaccurate. For example, this morning I was outside in shaded daylight with 1600 film and it wouldn't swing the arm down from the very top of the frame until I had it set to f/4 and a shutter of 8. I haven't developed it yet but that has to be extreme overexposure.
Do I understand the procedure correctly? If the arm is above the notch, it thinks the image is underexposed? What does it mean if there is a red dot in the center notch? And why does a second little arm sometimes appear at the very top of the meter strip?
This camera is supposed to have the 1.5v modification and I'm using a brand-new alkaline cell. Could that be the problem?
Thanks, I look forward to posting some pictures soon.
Hi if the meter needle is above the center it is under exposed, below is over exposed. The red needle at the top is your shutter speeds. These cameras are over 30+ years old, some people put the 1.5 volt in a camera that has not been upgraded to take it. The Winn cell 1.35 volt battery is a good replacement to the original battery & the same voltage. If you use a 1.5 volt in a camera that has not been adjusted to take it your readings will be off. Hope this helps.
I should have been clearer: I'm aware of the shutter speed indicator at the top. My questions were about the little black flag that sometimes appears at the top of the meter indicator in the very top right corner. I think it might indicate extreme under or overexposure but I'm not sure and I didn't see anything about it in the manual. Also, there is a red dot that sometimes appears in the middle notch when the shutter is set to the slowest speeds. I thought it might be something to tell you that the meter is turned off but my understanding is that it is only Bulb setting that turns off the meter and the red dot appears for 8,4,2, and B.
As far as the battery being the wrong voltage and meter being inaccurate due to age, these things seem unlikely since the meter is accurate about half the time. I feel like there's something I'm doing wrong but I just don't know what it is.
Just a quick check here -- you do know that the meter won't work unless the film is wound AND the advance lever is standing off from the body, right? See if that makes a difference -- what you're describing makes me think you've turned the meter off and you've adjusted the aperture/shutter settings to where they're outside the meter's range for the film speed.
My CL had a very similar problem with the meter - sometimes it was accurate but sometimes it was several stops out. I think such an inconsistent response can be a symptom of the meter cell failing (maybe it becomes less and less sensitive at lower light levels?), and after a chat with CRR Luton it is off for a replacement meter cell (and a conversion to 1.5v).
1600 Speed film is the limit of the CL, outside in daylight, and it starts working when you stop down to f4? Just a hunch here but you may be operating outside the EV range of the meter itself. How does it respond with slower films outside or with an ND filter?
I remember someone on a previous thread posting an address to a site that had the CL user's manual.
The black "flag" that sticks up when you switch the shutter speed dial has only to do with the battery check: to check the statuts of the battery on your CL switch the shutter dial until the flag comes out, then press the little button at the front of the camera. The batteries are OK if the needle of the meter points at the middle of the range.
Look around for a manual. There should be some around, and for free.
Oh, another thing to watch out for - there's some foam at the end of the meter needle's travel, and it gets sticky with age and sometimes the needle gets stuck to it. Mine occasionally does that, and I need to shake the camera a bit to free it (which is another reason it's off to CRR for some TLC).
Found the link to the manual,
the link doesn't seem to work...
check under Leica instruction book
As far as I know, I'm operating the meter correctly. (cap off, film loaded, winder cocked back). I'm starting to think K.Knox was right and the meter is failing because I just took it out for a stroll and it was giving me meter readings and then just stopped. As far as film speed, I get the same behavior no matter what speed I switch the dial to. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to use it meterlessly. A bit of a switch from the Hexar's spot-on metering. But the CL is still a very nice camera.
I did look at the manual before posting originally and didn't see anything about the red dot or the extra flag at the top.
Check out page 9 again.
Shame your meter doesn't work... I really like it.
Hmmm...I went back to the manual and I don't see anything that answers my questions. But I do see that maybe my battery is dead/dying. It says that if the light meter indicator moves to the middle notch when you press the battery check button the battery is "serviceable". Assuming "serviceable" is what their German to English dictionary told them means "good" and not "in need of service", my battery may be bad because the indicator moves all the way to the bottom. This is a brand new battery. I guess I'll buy another and see if the same thing happens.
Always ck the battery first. I agree w/ kknox that you should first put in a Zinc air cell battery, which I think is 1.4 volts, just in case yours really hasn't had the 1.5 upgrade. You have nothing to lose (as far as damaging the meter) if the battery is a little under voltage. I use the cheap Walgreens 675 Premium Zinc Air batteries in mine. Think they're $8 for 8 batteries. The battery is a little small diameter-wise, so I cram a little piece of wadded up foil in the side of it. In the CL cameras the battery has to make contact w/ the little prong in the middle, as well as the metal contact on the right of the holder. Do a web search for CL battery or CL battery adapters and you will get more info than you want.
For sure, if yours is not going to the middle of the of the scale when you do the battery test you probably have a dud battery. That may be all that is wrong. Not sure about the red dot thing though.
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