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Leica M7 compared to the Zeiss Ikon and Minolta CLE
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Leica M7
Zeiss Ikon
Minolta CLE

(about actual relative sizes)

 

June 2009     Rangefinder vs. SLR cameras

Leica Camera Reviews   Leica Lens Reviews   

Recommended Leica Lenses   How to Afford Anything   

How to shoot these cameras digitally

 

Introduction       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

 

THe Leica M7, Zeiss Ikon and Minolta CLE all do the same thing and use the same lenses.

Here are the minor differences.

 

 

Finder

 
Finder framelines
28, 35, 50, 75, 90, 135mm
28, 35, 50, 85mm
28mm, 40mm, 90mm
Do frame lines for longer lenses interfere when shooting wider lenses?
When shooting 28mm, 35mm and 50mm, frame lines for 90mm, 135mm and 90mm lenses get in the way
only at 28mm
Never
Finder magnification
0.72x
(0.58x and 0.85x optional)
0.74x
0.58x
Auto parallax correction
Yes
Yes
Yes
Auto magnification correction w/distance*
No
No
No
Rangefinder spot visibility
Fair (flares)
Excellent
Excellent
Easy to cover RF port with finger?
Yes
Yes
No
Frameline illumination window
Plastic
Coated ground glass
Ground glass
Finder blockage with most 28mm lenses**
moderate
minor
minor
Finder speed display
Just fixed digits
Meaningful LED tree
Meaningful LED tree
Finder speed range
32s - 1/1,000
1 - 1/2,000
1 - 1/2,000
(including arrows)
Finder display increments
Half stops
Full stops
Half stops
Resistance to finder smudges
Poor
Poor
Good
Focus ambiguity ***
moderate
moderate
minor
Effective RF base length
50mm
55.5mm
29mm

 

* Only the Contax G1 and Contax G2 do this, or of course any SLR.

* * Zeiss and Minolta are smart enough to put the viewfinder farther away from the lens mount than Leica.

* * * When focusing on vertical patterns like stripes or fences, it's possible to think you're in focus where in fact you're focused a click or two off! Smaller base-length finders reduce this.

 

Metering, Exposure and Shutter        top

 
Auto and manual exposure
Yes
Yes
Yes
TTL metering
Yes
Yes
Yes, off film
TTL flash
Yes, off film
No
Yes, off film
Flash Sync
1/50
1/125
1/60
Meter pattern
semi-spot, only
Center-weighted
Center-weighted
Meter works
Only with cocked shutter
Only with cocked shutter
Always
Exposure compensation
Difficult; have to stop shooting
Easy; done by feel
Easy; done by feel
AE Lock
Yes
Yes
No, use manual
Manual metering
Yes, 3-LED
Crappy blinking LEDs
No; measure in Auto mode
ASA setting
Difficult and unreliable
Easy and positive
Easy and positive
ASA setting lock?
No
Yes
Yes
Shutter
Horizontal cloth
Vertical Metal
Horizontal cloth
Leave shutter cocked?
OK
OK
Not overnight
Shutter sound
Softer dull clunk
Click
Click
Shutter speeds, manual
4s - 1/1,000
1 - 1/2,000
1 - 1/1,000
Shutter speeds, auto (as tested)
38s - 1/1,000
8s - 1/2,000
5s - 1/1,000

 

Shooting        top

 
Film loading
Convoluted
Easy
Easy
Film back
Have to remove and hold separate bottom plate of camera!
Hinged
Hinged
Film-type reminder
None
Peep hole
Box-end holder
Lens mount
Dull chromed brass
Solid stainless steel?
Solid stainless steel
Lens mounting
Smooth as a fine woman
Swell
can be gritty
Lens release
Covered-up and hard to hit
easy to press
easy to press
Bulb Exposures
No battery drain
Drains batteries at 15mA
Drains batteries at 25mA
Mechanical speeds
1/60 and 1/125
None
None
Self timer
No
No
Yes
Trigger pull
Notchy and disjointed
Clicky
Smooth and perfect
Rewind button
Lever on front
Button on bottom
Button on bottom
Rewind crank
Fantastic and angled
Upside down and backwards
Upside down and backwards

 

Power        top

 
Batteries
2 - CR1/3N (harder to find)
2 - A76 (found everywhere)
2 - A76 (found everywhere)
Battery check button
No
No
Yes
Power switch
Yes, just a safety catch
Yes, but can lead to lost photos.
yes, just a safety catch
Instant wake-up
Press shutter in
Press shutter
Just touch shutter
Need to turn off power switch?

Never
Never
Never

 

Mechanics, Introduction and Price        top

 
Size, inches WHD
5.4 x 3.1 x 1.5"
5.4 x 3.1 x 1.3"
4.9 x 3 x 1.3"
Size, millimeters
138 x 79.5 x 38 mm
138 x 78 x 32 mm
124.5 x 77.5 x 32 mm
Weight w/film
22.265 oz./631.2g
16.790oz/476.0g
14.290 oz/402.3 g
Feels like
A tank
A Pentax K1000
a Minolta XG-1
Exterior finish
Black chrome metal
Black or silver
Black chrome metal
Top and bottom covers
Brass
Cast aluminum
Plastic
Shutter dial
Solid engraved aluminum
Metal
Plastic
Markings
Engraved
Engraved
Engraved
Demeanor
Loud Leica logos and model numbers
A normal camera
Discrete gray lettering
Serial Number
Discretely engraved into hot shoe

Loudly engraved into top cover

Discretely engraved into hot shoe
Dependability
Fair
Very good
Very good
Introduced
2002
 
1980
Price, 6/09 USA
$4,400 new
$1,410 new
$400 used

 

Recommendations       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations

 

Get the LEICA M7 if you deserve the best. Get the LEICA if you do a lot of long bulb time exposures or need to meter out to longer than a few seconds.

Get the Zeiss Ikon (or a Nikon F6) for practical phtoography.

Look for a Minolta CLE if you want the smallest, lightest possible Leica camera.

 

PLUG

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