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Ernst Leitz GMBH Wetzlar Germany, today Leica Camera AG

Leica R4

Leica R4 (1980 - 1986) serial 1671xxx

Ernst Leitz GmbH was not the only German camera manufacturer that co-operated with Japanese camera makers. Japanese were unbeatable in electronics and Germany has "always" been famous of the mechanical masterpieces.
Merged know-how resulted some excellent products. The first camera to emerge from the Leitz/Minolta partnership was the Leica R3.  The original Leicaflex as well as the Leicaflex SL and Leicaflex SL2 were all pure Leitz designs. 

The Leica R4 is Leica's follow up to the Leica R3 . It is based on the Minolta XD-series of cameras but it is still Leica from the heels to the hips. Actually all that Minolta supplied was the raw body casting.  The electronics were manufactured in England and the shutter was manufactured by Seiko in Japan. 

 Let's say, the bigger reading after R (Today the reading is 9), the more German construction. It is a pity, that R4 gained a slightly unsteady reputation caused by the bugs in the first produced examples. Problems were solved from the serial nr. ~1635xxx onwards but the blemish for the reputation..stayed. Screens

The...MOTOR-WINDER R 4 and MOTOR-DRIVE R 4 on the Leica R 4 make motorized film transport and shutter wind possible. With the winder frame frequencies of up to 2fps and with the motor drive of up to 4fps are possible. The drive can be switched to 2fps and to single-frame exposures. All shutter speeds from 1 to 1/I000sec can be used. The WINDER is powered by 6. the DRIVE by 10 AA size alkali manganese batteries or NiCd rechargeable batteries.

There are four additional focusing screens available. The uniform groundglass screen (No. 2) for the extreme close-up range and very long-focal-length tenses. The microprism screen (No. 3) for undisturbed assessment or the pictorial composition. The uniform groundglass screen with grid division (No.4) for architectural photography and reproductions The clear glass plate (No.5) for scientific photography such as photomicrography and astronomical photography.

Leica Top

Leica R4 is a quite compact camera.  In fact R4 body is the smallest of all Leica SLR cameras. It has most of the features that a camera owner in the eighties could imagine. Still it never came very popular and who btw. would have expected that for a Leica. It is extremely perfect build, loaded with features, accepts motor drive and has a high status value. Leica cameras has a reputation of the high end mechanics but R4 has an electronic shutter which means, that without battery power you can use it only at B and 1/100 sec. Even behind the most beautiful rose, there is a tiny prickle.

Somewhat scaled-down version of the R4, the R4s was manufactured in 1983 -1986.

Leica lenses are finely crafted masterpieces. The extensive range of R system lenses covers focal lengths from 15 mm to 800 mm.

Summicron-R 50mm f/2 standard lens has a buit-in telescopic lens hood. Optical design consists 6 elements in 4 groups and weight is 290g.

50mm f/2.0 Summicron LeicalogoSummicron
    Type of camera: 35mm single-lens reflex

    Picture format: 24mm x 36mm standard 35mm film format.

    Lens mount: Bayonet type.

    Lenses: Lenses with Leica R-mount

    Shutter: Electronic Vertical Focal Plane. 1 sec - 1/1000 sec + B & X (1/100sec)

    Exposure control: Aperture-priority auto-exposure; shutter-priority; program; or manual exposure sec); B and T .

    Exposure metering: Center-weighted full-aperture metering

    Metering range: EV1-18

    Film speed setting: ASA 12 to 3200.

    Film advance lever : Single stroke type

    Features: Battery self-check, eyepiece shutter,multiple-exposure / Integral DOF preview, self-timer 8sec.

    Viewfinder / display: Central split image rangefinder & microprism ring / Aperture, shutter speed and exposure mode

    Finder magnification: 0.9x , interchangeable focusing screen

    Reflex mirror: Automatic instant-return type

    Depth-of-field preview: Via lever.

    Frame counter : Additive type; frame numbers from 0 to 40; automatically resets to S when camera back is opened.

    Film rewind : By crank provided after film rewind button is pressed.

    Flash synchronization: Accessory hot shoe sync cable connector on front 1/90 sec X sync and focal plane (FP) sync

    Battery: One 3V lithium battery CR-1/3N, two 1.55V silver-oxide batteries SR-44, or two 1.5V alkaline batteries LR-44

    Body dimensions: (W x H x D) 138.5 x 88 x 60mm

    Body Weight : 680g

©2006 Reijo Lauro