View Full Version : R3A/4A or Zeiss Ikon
Have any of you had the chance to compare. I have been considering the new Zeiss Ikon but have been considering the R3A or R4A. It is very hard to ignore the price/value.
But my consideration is the viewfinder, I have seen the Zeiss and it is superb. And the other consideration I have is shutter noise.
Your experience would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
I have an R3M and the finder is amazing. The shutter is loudish, but the R3A's is supposedly quieter.
One thing, if you wear glasses, it's very hard to see the 40mm frameline on the R3. It's the largest I've seen. I even have to squash the glasses onto my face to get a good look at the 50.
The Finder on my R3a is excellent. 40mm framelines are a tiny bit hard to see. The 35mm framelines on the R2 should be very easy to see since the difference in magnification is more than the difference between 35mm and 40mm. The only thing I don't really like about the R3a is the meter readout which becomes hard to see in bright light.
I've yet to use a ZI, but I hear that it has an incredible finder.
To me, the biggest advantage of the ZI is the fact that it has 28mm framelines and 90mm.
Alternatively, you could buy an R3a and an R4m and be covered from 21mm to 90mm and have a backup body if the R3a's batteries die.
What are your favorite focal lengths?
The price of a ZI has kept them out of consideration for me, given that the Bessas are 1/2 of the price, and an M6 can be had for a few hundred less. That's a lot of money that you could invest in additional lenses or film.
What focal lengths do you shoot? This could help you decide. The ZI will comfortably cover the range from 28-90mm. The R4 will take you from 21-50mm (50 is sketchy), and the R3, in my mind, is designed for folks who like shooting with 50mm or longer lenses (40mm is challenging especially with glasses or for big-nosed folks, like me). Right now I'm shooting with an R3M and Zeiss Planar 50, and a CV 28/3.5 using the excellent CV finder (see the image in my sig.)
So, kind of in summary:
ZI will do everything but cost you twice as much. I'll also add that I feel the AE lock system is better than on the Bessa "A" models (does not have to be held down continually).
R4's are great if you're a wide shooter and don't reallly go beyond 35mm
R3's are made for longer focal lengths.
And of course, there's always the R2A/M's - excellent for 35-90mm. Worth considering for an all-around body.
i have the r4a and the zm.
what kind of info are you looking for?
if you will be using mostly 21 to 28 mm lenses then the r4a is a great camera.
the zm has wonderful 35 & 50 mm framelines.
i like them both. the r4a 'feels' smaller in the hand and is very comfortable in use.
the zm feels larger and more solid. noise wise i can't really tell much of a difference. the zm sounds a bit more metallic, the cv a somewhat more deadened/flat sound.
the r4a with the smaller/slower lenses is wonderful.
Great responses - Thanks!
I would be very comfortable with shooting mostly with a 40mm or 50mm. I have a Contax G1 and seldom take the 40mm off to use my 90mm.
I used to have an R3a and the 40mm (I wear glasses). If it wasn't for GAS and now being spoiled by the ZI, I would be VERY happy with the Bessa kit.
If you think your use is going to parallel that of the G1 in terms of focal length, then why not consider the R2A depending on your needs? there is a thread about the relative advantages of the ZI beyond the incomparable VF...worth checking out. But it sounds to me like the R2A might be what you are looking for. Its generally easier to use wides than teles with external VFs. you will be happy with any of the choices. the thornier problem is which lens? with the money you'd save on an R2A over a ZI, you could probably get the normal lens you really want, like a ZM C Sonnar or ZM planar. I'd recommend allocating precious resources first into building a system around the lenses, preferably Zeiss.
get the new 35/2.8 zm lens...:)
What about using 28mm lens on the ZI ?
Some more differences between the R3a and the ZI that I just noticed:
1) The ZI's shutter button is more like that in a modern SLR in that it has a very slight click for the 1/2 press before you press it all the way down. I've never fired the R3a accidentally, but the R3a's shutter release button doesn't give much feedback.
2) The R3a locks the shutter button from moving when you have the camera off. This lets you know whether the camera is on or off without looking. The ZI's button still moves if it's off, it just doesn't do anything. This is a bit annoying right now, but I'll probably get used to it.
3) The ZI's AE lock button feels much nicer. It has a nice little inaudible click.
4) The ZI feels very heavy on the left side (where the VF is). It becomes a lot more balanced once you mount a lens (even a light one).
5) I just checked the difference in shutter sound. The ZI is indeed a tiny bit quieter and at a slightly lower pitch. This difference is so small as to be almost negligible. The winding sound on the ZI is actually a bit louder than the Bessa's.
6) The R3a's 1:1 finder is very nice for 50mm lenses even if you're left-eyed.
Yesterday I aquired my first new camera - bessa R3a!
It's incredible! shot a roll today! A few initial impressions follow:
Shooting right eyed (with both eyes open) is astounding - makes it seem like the brightest VF possible! Although one eye closed its still flipping bright.
I have a 50, and using those framelines is fantastic
- theres comfortable amount of room around them,
I'm going to love this combination.
Testing out the 40 framelines, they are on the very edge of your view (not wearing spectacles). However, by having both eyes open your (left top/bottom) periphery is enhanced so that it doesn't matter. I can't see them when I have my spec's on.
Plus you could think of the included 90 framelines as an indication of a grid of thirds in the 40 frame for composition purposes (or extra clutter, depending on your outlook/opinion).
The meter display is indeed hard to see in bright light, but this is easily remedied by shielding the VF with your left hand when you want to see the reading - nay bother.
It sounds, feels and looks good. Just the right mass, nicely balanced with Canon 50/1.4 - or compact with the snapshot skopar (leans back a bit with this though). The shutter sound (I wouldn't think of it as noise, although technically it is) is louder than my Yashica CC, but then.. what isn't?!
I haven't experienced the other two choices, so I can't compare.
But the R3a seems to be a special little beast, which is going
to fuel my photo geekery for a fair while I rekon.
There's no question that the ZI is better in every respect, but it only has the 0.74 VF, and this is why I also use the R3A, and, above all, the R4A, but if Zeiss made other VF magnification Ikons, I'd gladly get rid of the Bessas right away.
I wear glasses and am proud to have a large nose to boot, but still find the 28mm framelines on the ZI easy to use. I also have the R3A, and although it does have the framelines and the viewfinder magnification that would make it seem appropriate for longer lenses, I have found that with the shorter rangefinder baseline on the R3A that focusing long lenses (90mm in particular) is an iffy situation, and the ZI is a better tool for the purpose, particularly when shooting with larger apertures. However, I do love the R3A with the Rollei 40/2.8 Sonnar, slightly difficult framelines and all. To my mind, a perfect match for a single lens/body kit, although I think the ZI is the better all around tool for photography.
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