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Switching from Leica M2 to Hexar RF
Old 03-29-2016   #1
jnclde
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Switching from Leica M2 to Hexar RF

So, I have been thinking of making the switch for the past couple of days. So, last year I purchased a de-chromed repainted 1962 black paint M2 and have loved it for the past couple of months, but the honeymoon phase may be over(?)
AB003-2 by Jean Claude Araque, on Flickr

I recently purchased a Fujifilm Klasse S for a compact and I absolutely adore it. The reason for the purchase was that it has a 38mm FL, which is very close to my most used lens on the M2 - 40mm M-Rokkor f2.The handling and AF is great (coming from manual focusing) and the optics are what drew me in. It made me realize that there is so much more to cameras than the peak of 1950s camera design. (Leica M2/3)
AA001-3 by Jean Claude Araque, on Flickr

The original idea was to use the M2 with a recently acquired canon 50mm f1.8 ltm, but more and more I am realizing that the combo is far too heavy for what it gives me. And honestly the only thing that slows me down is evaluating exposure. I'm very quick when it comes to focusing. So the idea grew on me, that I probably do not need a Leica M2 to pursue the imagery I have in mind.

I was considering to sell my 1962 Black re-painted Leica M2, the canon 50mm f1.8 and possibly my 90mm tele-elmarit (since the Hexar RF has a x.6 mag) and it won't be much use, and ultimately use the money for the Hexar RF and a sweet high-end 50mm of my dreams to combo it with the Klasse S. Base length aside, I've read multiple stuff regarding the Hexar online, but what do you guys think of it's VF? Do I need to buy a magnifier for the VF in the Hexar or would I do just fine? The 35mm frame lines in the Hexar would be perfect for my 40mm though. Also, how durable are they? AND lastly if I really want a M2 again I could just purchase a chrome one down the line and not be over the top by having a 'stealth' black paint from the beginning. Eventually I could send that one out to get repainted by Kanto, etc.

Please share your thoughts and experiences!
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Old 03-29-2016   #2
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there was a hexar rf for 400 usd in the classifieds last week --- I'd say possibly get an m6 -- hexars are now abandonware
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Old 03-29-2016   #3
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The Hexar RF is arguably the best film rangefinder ever made. It's built like a tank, auto film advance is very easy to live with and the option of having 1/4000 shutter speed in your armory is a big plus. While the viewfinder is not quite up to the standard of an M or an Ikon it's more than good enough. On the negative side I suspect they will be very hard to get parts for in the future.
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Old 03-29-2016   #4
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https://www.cameraquest.com/konicam.htm

Problem with these cameras is they are starting to break, and there are no replacement parts.
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Old 03-29-2016   #5
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I really enjoyed the two Hexars I owned. But reading about lack of parts to repair a camera made me rethink ownership. Sold both. If it weren't for the lack of parts I would have stayed with the Hexars. AE and auto film advance and the 1/4000 shutter speed. They feel great in the hand.

I'm stuck with a M6 for now. DAG has assured me there will parts, but might not be independent techs over time.
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Old 03-29-2016   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonosguy View Post
there was a hexar rf for 400 usd in the classifieds last week --- I'd say possibly get an m6 -- hexars are now abandonware
I found one on eBay unused for around ~$900 and another one in mint for around ~$700

M6 was another option on my mind, but I wanted a bit more features.
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Old 03-29-2016   #7
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That's why I mainly asked about durability, I'm terrified to have dead weight for a camera due to a lack of parts. Maybe an option down the line would be to buy a beater Hexar for it's internals?
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Old 03-29-2016   #8
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While the Hexars may be starting to run out of parts I suspect that in the not too distant future 3-D printing technology will rescue a lot of these types of cameras from oblivion.
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Old 03-29-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjlapier View Post
DAG has assured me there will parts, but might not be independent techs over time.
Parts for the Hexar?
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Old 03-29-2016   #10
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The Hexar RF is a great camera. Compared to the Leica you lose the 135mm and keep everything else. You get awesome metering and excellent framing.

The Hexar gives great metering, faster speed and variable metering.

I don't think there's anything the Leica does better with. The Hexar does what the M3 does, times 2.
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Old 03-29-2016   #11
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contax g2?
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Old 03-29-2016   #12
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The parts replacement: you can buy a second one for less than a Leica cleanup. You'd have to be pretty unlucky. I suppose it will happen eventually. Buy 2?
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Old 03-29-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler View Post
The Hexar RF is a great camera. Compared to the Leica you lose the 135mm and keep everything else. You get awesome metering and excellent framing.

The Hexar gives great metering, faster speed and variable metering.

I don't think there's anything the Leica does better with. The Hexar does what the M3 does, times 2.
Literally the all the reasons why I want to switch. I'm going to try to head to NY tomorrow to try to visit some camera shop and see if any of them have bodies I can check out.
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Old 03-29-2016   #14
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http://www.rangefinderforum.com/phot...-2c-more/cat/3
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Old 03-29-2016   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonosguy View Post
contax g2?
Doesn't have an M mount and won't really have that RF experience.
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Old 03-29-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnclde View Post
I found one on eBay unused for around ~$900 and another one in mint for around ~$700

M6 was another option on my mind, but I wanted a bit more features.

Way too much money. I see them often selling for $400-$450 in really good condition.
$900 buys you the best M camera ever - the M5 - or at that point if you want AE you'd have easily enough from the sale of your gear to get a really nice used M7. A camera that is still in production and will still have parts made for it for decades. (maybe..)

Some, not all, Konica RFs have had focusing issues w/ Leica lenses.

From cameraquest.com:

Some Hexar RF users report focusing problems with Leica M lenses, others do not. How could that happen?

The EXACT cause of this is a hot source of controversy on the net. Konica is not helping the situation. So far, I have received different answers from every Konica employee I have discussed the issue with. Konica USA offered to adjust the rangefinder of my camera, but admitted this would not be a complete solution. I am told Konica UK actually offers to correct Hexar RF bodies to Leica M specs, for a fee. Konica USA seems to give me a different answer every time I talk with them.

Some people swear nothing is wrong with the Hexar RF with Leica M lenses, because THEIR camera has had no problems. Others report focusing problems. Personally MY Hexar RF did NOT have correct back focus specs for Leica M lenses -- I had it repaired.

I believe the KEY to the controversy is the INCONSISTENCY -- some people have back focus problems, others swear THEY do not. How could that happen?

As suggested to me by a Konica insider, the answer may be the plus/minus tolerances used by Konica. In this scenario, depending upon how a particular camera body's set of parts tolerances add up, that particular camera MAY or MAY NOT exit the factory with back focus specs within Leica lens tolerances. I am not sure this is the solution, but I know of no other explanation which satisfactorily explains the inconsistent results reported by Konica Hexar RF shooters.

Some internet sites make a seemingly strong argument that there is NO Hexar RF back focus problem. Ask yourself a few questions before you buy into that line of thinking:

Hexar RF problems came into the public eye because SOME, not all, Hexar RF owners definitely were not getting sharp shots with the same lens on their RF, as they were from Leica bodies. If there was no problem with the RF, what was the cause of these focusing problems?

If there is no problem, why does Konica UK offer a repair service to adjust Hexar bodies to focus Leica M lenses?

If there is no problem, how did the Konica factory correct it on MY Hexar RF?

If there is no problem, why hasn't Konica publicly said the Hexar RF is fully 100% compatible with Leica M lenses? This controversy is obviously hurting Hexar RF sales. It would be to Konica's advantage to deny it and put the question to rest, IF there was no problem. Instead, Konica has publicly side stepped the issue, saying that the Hexar RF is compatible with the Konica "KM" mount. I interpret Konica's stance as another way of saying "We are not promising Leica M compatibility, because we don't want to pay for a camera recall."

Do you see any of the sites claiming there is no problem, offering to buy back or repair Hexar RF's bought on THEIR recommendation which turn out NOT to correctly focus Leica M lenses?

If you own a Hexar RF, or plan to buy one, I suggest taking it to a Leica repairman, and have them check the film plane and focusing accuracy, just to be sure -- ideally with both Konica and Leica mount lenses.

Quick and Dirty Hexar Back Focus RF test: With your RF mounted on a tripod, focus on INFINITY wide open with your WIDEST lenses. The Voigtlander 12 and 15 are especially useful to spot if your Hexar RF is not up to standard Leica M mount back focus specs. As a control point, shoot the same shots with a Leica M body you know to be in good shooting condition. Compare with a loupe. IF the results are identical, wonderful. IF you get different results with the same lens on different bodies, consider having the back focus of your Hexar RF checked by a repair tech.
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Old 03-29-2016   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnclde View Post
Parts for the Hexar?
Parts for M cameras.
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Old 03-29-2016   #18
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The Hexar RF focusing issues were long ago debunked. Any RF can have a mis-aligned cam; if it is, send it to DAG, he's got all the high-end test gear to get it back in order.

So much angst here...Hexars are cheap. Buy two if you want spare parts...
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Old 03-29-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Way too much money. I see them often selling for $400-$450 in really good condition.
$900 buys you the best M camera ever - the M5 - or at that point if you want AE you'd have easily enough from the sale of your gear to get a really nice used M7. A camera that is still in production and will still have parts made for it for decades. (maybe..)
Thank you for the detailed explanation, I will highly consider it all. M7 may be a decent alternative as well, but that would cut my budget down and not be able to purchase a new 50mm. I wanted a V3 or V4 Summicron.

Dream team would be a Hexar RF with the Canon 50mm f0.95 dream lens after a while of saving. ha!
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Old 03-29-2016   #20
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Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
The Hexar RF focusing issues were long ago debunked. Any RF can have a mis-aligned cam; if it is, send it to DAG, he's got all the high-end test gear to get it back in order.

So much angst here...Hexars are cheap. Buy two if you want spare parts...

I hope I don't cause issues.

I read Dante Stella's review of the body regarding the whole RF issue as well. http://www.dantestella.com/technical/hexarrf.html
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Old 03-29-2016   #21
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Originally Posted by Scrambler View Post
Buy 2?
That's what I did.

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Old 03-29-2016   #22
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Yes. Thanks for linking Dante's blog post.

Also, Zeiss Ikon.
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Old 03-29-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonosguy View Post
there was a hexar rf for 400 usd in the classifieds last week

If I recall correctly, that particular hexar rf had a -2.0 diopter eyepiece. Which is great if that works for your eyesight. If not, good luck finding a spare eyepiece to replace it with. In Japan, I've heard of people purposely sending their hexar rf to kenko-tokina for servicing sans eyepiece so kenko-tokina would have to attach another one during the servicing. Why? Its the only way you can get new/spare eyepieces. The eyepiece is an integral part of the viewfinder optical system so kenko tokina has to install one to service the camera. They refuse to sell them as parts only and no one else has any stock.


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Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
Also, Zeiss Ikon.
This. I bought a Zeiss Ikon new in March 2009 and its still going strong. You can even use the common and easy to find Nikon FM series eyepieces/diopters on it.
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Old 03-29-2016   #24
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i have nothing but good things to say about the hexar rf, but if you want a lighter body, you should get a zeiss ikon or voigtlander bessa.
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Old 03-29-2016   #25
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I have a very nice paperweight on my office desk here. Bought the Hexar RF some years ago for 500 EUR. Electronics ok but it produced only unsharp photos, no return possible. So I sent it for a repair for another 200 EUR but it still does not work. A 700 EUR paperweight.... who can beat that?

(rangefinder is properly aligned. When I focus on something 2m away, the lens says 2m but something from 10m to infinity is sharp)
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Old 03-30-2016   #26
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I have a very nice paperweight on my office desk here. Bought the Hexar RF some years ago for 500 EUR. Electronics ok but it produced only unsharp photos, no return possible. So I sent it for a repair for another 200 EUR but it still does not work. A 700 EUR paperweight.... who can beat that?

(rangefinder is properly aligned. When I focus on something 2m away, the lens says 2m but something from 10m to infinity is sharp)
How is that possible? If the lens says 2m, the picture should be sharp at 2m, unless there is something wrong with the lens' DOF chart or the LTM-M adapter. I mainly zone focus a 28mm lens on my Hexar RF like on my M6, after all, the camera is only a box.
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Old 03-30-2016   #27
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To OP, if you mainly care about the durability, I would say forget about the Hexar RF, Cosina Zeiss Ikon and Bessa's, the CLE etc. Even if you buy another body for parts, few shops are bothered to even touch them. It's a PITA to get them fixed, unless if you live in Japan perhaps.

Buy a Leica M6 or M7.

If you only care about photos, Hexar RF is a great camera. I use it for wide angle lenses and haven't yet any focus issue. The only trouble it caused me was to refuse to load some non mainstream films I bought in Bulgaria (Rollei branded, I think), probably because there was no DX code. I was stuck in a beautiful city of Veliko Tarnovo with only one roll of Neopan 1600, which turned out to contain many keepers.
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Old 03-30-2016   #28
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Hi,

Back to the opener:- "I recently purchased a Fujifilm Klasse S for a compact and I absolutely adore it. The reason for the purchase was that it has a 38mm FL, which is very close to my most used lens on the M2 - 40mm M-Rokkor f2.The handling and AF is great (coming from manual focusing) and the optics are what drew me in. It made me realize that there is so much more to cameras than the peak of 1950s camera design. (Leica M2/3)"

Why not a Leica CL body or Minolta CLE body for the 40mm?

Regards, David
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Old 03-30-2016   #29
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When I shoot film it is with either my M-5 or my Hexar RF I have not had any problems with the Hexar and I bought it new the 2nd year they were out.

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Old 03-30-2016   #30
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Konica RF had a different focus distance, from the start.
See factory specs.
It may have been changed at some point..

Depth of field at small apertures, might work..
The answer is simple my M2 has the best viewfinder, the nicest frames.
I do use my M3 more.
Purely due to familiarity. :-)

I would avoid Konica as it's obsolete, no factory back up.
If bought cheap enough, take a chance.
After doing photography, for a long time, pro, serious amateur,
now retired, but using my Leica weekly,
+either you own a Leica, or you don't".
There are no similar, no "like", no maybe!
I like cameras with meters but can work totally without.
I usually get better images without meters.. sigh.
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Old 03-30-2016   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnclde View Post
Thank you for the detailed explanation, I will highly consider it all. M7 may be a decent alternative as well, but that would cut my budget down and not be able to purchase a new 50mm. I wanted a V3 or V4 Summicron.

Dream team would be a Hexar RF with the Canon 50mm f0.95 dream lens after a while of saving. ha!
I've always loved the results from the Hexanon-M 50. I would buy it over a Summicron, but that's just me.
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Old 03-30-2016   #32
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So, OP wants good 50mm prime on Hexar RF (560g), because M2 (580g) and OK 50mm prime is so heavy?
Something is fishy here :
Quote:
I am realizing that the combo is far too heavy for what it gives me.
OP also concerned about reliability while Hexar RF is obsolete with some electronics in it and here is next to nothing to break in M2.

Buying second camera suggestion to have spare parts is obvious obsolete as well. What if broken camera has exactly the same as broken in purchased as broken? And WHO is going to do actual repair.
One still working obsolete plus one broken obsolete might be next to fine working and serviceable M6.

I'm looking at the two pictures OP provided and not getting where is the rush for exposure metering. Plus, I would prefer to use not reflected, but incident metering for second picture.

Sorry, I'm not warm and fuzzy. It is Leica M Film Camera sub-forum after all
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Old 03-30-2016   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
So, OP wants good 50mm prime on Hexar RF (560g), because M2 (580g) and OK 50mm prime is so heavy?
Something is fishy here
You probably misunderstood/I didn't fully elaborate what I meant by weight.

Regarding weight I meant to carry a camera with that lens combo all day for me isn't convenient or ideal. I am a street photographer and I switch from different light situations all day long, so if I'm going to carry something with weight it better have features that will benefit my work flow rather than slow it down. I have a grasp at understanding exposure after using the M2 for over a year as my main, but I don't want to approximate exposure any longer. Most of the time I am accurate, but some frames I do slip. I would rather maximize my films potential per frame and focus on my composition and selected settings than worry about a tricky light situation when moments are fleeting.

Also the price! The M2 I currently have is probably worth ~3 Hexar RF bodies
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Old 03-30-2016   #34
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I've always loved the results from the Hexanon-M 50. I would buy it over a Summicron, but that's just me.
I haven't looked into the weight of the Hexanon-M 50, but I know the V3/4 Summicrons are around mid ~200g and that's pretty awesome. Also the ergonomics are being taken under consideration as well.
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Old 03-30-2016   #35
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Why not a Leica CL body or Minolta CLE body for the 40mm?
There are multiple reasons. Primarily defeating the purpose of owning the Klasse S, since they're both relatively small.

Cons:
Short EBL (I think the shortest if I'm right(?) correct me if I'm keeping guys)- I want to primarily use a 50mm since the Klasse S has me covered.

Awkward and long film advance; can't double stroke it

Old light meter that will probably break sooner than a Hexar RF

No AE or aperture priority

Etc
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Old 03-30-2016   #36
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I haven't looked into the weight of the Hexanon-M 50, but I know the V3/4 Summicrons are around mid ~200g and that's pretty awesome. Also the ergonomics are being taken under consideration as well.
255 grams I think
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Old 03-30-2016   #37
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The CLE that David mentioned is a great option. Especially seeing you like the 40mm lenses. It comes with a 40mm frame, has AE exposure and is very small and lightweight.
Uses the Leica M mount lenses.

You can get a perfect/mint condition one for $400. Or two perfect mint condition ones, with matching Zhou half cases for $750.

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Old 03-30-2016   #38
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Here is an interesting article on RF base lengths and accuracy.

https://cameraquest.com/leica.htm
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Old 03-30-2016   #39
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CLE

RF Accuracy Chart
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Old 03-30-2016   #40
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I have both the M2 and the RF.
In my case, in-body metering is not a huge advantage because I mostly shoot in daytime, make an initial incident light exposure assessment, overexpose by 1/2 stop, then just work by differences (-2 stops for shadow).
This way, I have no troubles working without an in-body meter and I actually get better exposures becuase I'm forced to think at light, which for some reason I'm not doing as much when I'm using a metered camera, unless I completely ignore its readings.
The metered bodies (M6 and RF) only come handy in very variable light, usualy not during daytime.

To me the real main gaps between the two, however, are the Hex being much loulder (this could be unimportant for your shooting) and the dramatic difference in VF quality and RF patch size for accurate focussing and pleasure of use, making the M2 a much better body for my likings.

I'd suggest you to try an RF before you buy it in order to find out whether the latter difference matters to you or not.
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