A 35mm film SLR system created by LEICA in response to a rapid increase in popularity of SLR cameras.
THE LEICAFLEX SERIES:
- Leicaflex ("Standard") - an all-mechanical SLR with bayonet-type mount, CdS exposure meter built into the pentraprism, and a focal plane shutter with top speed of 1/2000th of a second;
- Leicaflex SL - a model that introduced TTL open-aperture exposure metering and removed the mirror lock-up feature that was available on the predecessor;
- Leicaflex SL MOT - as Leicaflex SL, but with electrical and mechanical connections for the Leicaflex motor, and without self-timer;
- Leicaflex SL2 - a minor upgrade with its more sensitive exposure meter, combined shutter speed and lens stop indication in the viewfinder, illuminated measuring read-out for poor lighting conditions, additional split-image rangefinder for positive focusing, and additional accessory-shoe contact;
- Leicaflex SL2 MOT - as Leicaflex SL2, but with electrical and mechanical connections for the Leicaflex motor, and without self-timer.
In order to offer automatic exposure, LEITZ teamed up with the Japanese company Minolta. The new LEICA R series cameras were based on Minolta electronics but produced by LEITZ in Germany or Portugal.
THE LEICA R SERIES:
- R3 Electronic - LEICA's first auto-exposure SLR. It featured an electronically controlled focal plane shutter with top speed of 1/1000th of a second, TTL open-aperture exposure metering that could be changed from integrated to selective measurement, and aperture-priority automatic exposure mode (with manual override);
- R3 MOT Electronic - as LEICA R3, but with connection for motor winder;
- R4 (MOT Electronic) - a more compact model that offered programmed automatic and shutter-priority automatic exposure modes;
- R4s - as LEICA R4, but with shutter-priority and manual exposure modes combined with the two measuring methods (selective and integral);
- R4s MOD. 2 - as LEICA R4s, but with override for single-hand operation and optimised mode selection switch;
- R5 - a model that added TTL flash exposure metering and extended the shutter speed range to 1/2000th of a second;
- R-E - an economy version of the R5 without shutter-priority and programmed automatic exposure modes;
- R6 - a return to fully manual operation. The camera was not battery dependent and featured a mechanically controlled shutter with top speed of 1/1000th of a second, TTL open-aperture exposure metering that could be changed from integrated to selective measurement, and manual shutter and aperture control only;
- R6.2 - as LEICA R6, but with top shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second;
- R7 - a redesign of the R5;
- R8 - a totally new in-house design, both technically and aesthetically, with top shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, and new multi-pattern metering in addition to the customary selective and center-weighted metering methods;
- R9 - a modification of the R8 with lighter body due to use of magnesium for the top cover and aluminium for the baseplate, improved multi-pattern metering and flash operation.
The LEICA Digital-Modul-R, a 10MP digital back introduced in late 2004, transformed the R8 and R9 into full-function digital SLR cameras.
THE LEICA R LENSES:
Leica R lenses combined high resolving power with high image contrast to provide exceptional picture sharpness. The focal lengths ranged from a 15mm wide-angle to a 800mm telephoto. Anti-reflection coatings on highly refractive glasses assured almost 100% light transmission within the entire visible spectrum. The additional ultraviolet light was further absorbed by means of Absorban cement layers. This also assured that all lenses maintained the same color transmission, regardless of focal length. Even at full aperture, the residual aberrations were corrected so well that in practice they did not affect the performance even at full aperture. See full list of advantages of Leica R lenses.
VARIATIONS OF THE LEICA R BAYONET MOUNT:
- 1 cam - introduced with the Leicaflex (Standard); has a single sloped cam that transmits the aperture value to the external exposure meter. 1-cam lenses can be used on SL/SL2 and R-series bodies in stop-down metering mode only and not recommended on R8/R9 because of possible damage to the camera's ROM contacts.
- 2 cam - introduced with the Leicaflex SL; has two sloped cams; the second cam transmits the aperture value to the TTL exposure meter. 2-cam lenses are fully compatible with the Leicaflex (Standard). On R-series bodies, the limitations are the same as for the 1-cam lenses.
- 3 cam - introduced with the LEICA R3 Electronic; has two sloped cams and a third stepped R-cam that transmits both maximum and set apertures to the TTL exposure meter. 3-cam lenses are compatible with all Leicaflex and LEICA R bodies.
- R only - only has the third stepped R-cam. R-only lenses were made for LEICA R bodies and will not fit Leicaflex bodies.
- ROM - only has the third stepped R-cam plus electrical contacts transmitting the focal length to the body. Even though the data exchange is only supported on the R8/R9 (the information is used in flash metering and also transmitted to the Digital-Modul-R), mechanically ROM lenses are fully compatible with all LEICA R bodies. Like R-only lenses, they will not fit Leicaflex bodies.