Inaccurate Internet Claims
[quote=Michaelta]Apparently – based on some threads in this forum – one may have an impression that viewfinder alignment problems tend to occur rather often with Voigtlander Bessa R3A in comparison to the Voigtlander Bessa R2A. I wonder whether this is the current situation and if eventually so, what might be the reason.
It's easy for small problems to be blown out of proportion to become big problems on the net, and then for those same distorted reports to be quoted as facts by people who are taken in by them and then made even bigger.
As a Voigtlander USA Distributor I am one of the largest sellers of Voigtlander outside of Japan. I warranty those cameras, lenses, and accessories for one year after sale. In my experience with hundreds of R3A and R2A cameras, this claimed R3A / R2A alignment problem does not exist because the number of cameras being sent in for warranty RF alignment is extremely small, actually less than the previous R2, while the R2 was also an improvement over the Bessa R.
The Bessa R was Cosina Voigtlander's first interchangeable lens combined Rangefinder/Viewfinder camera. Initially for the R, factory adjustments and quality control was a learning experience. Each succeedng design was improved in terms of reliabiltiy, from the R to R2 to R2A / R3A. The T is a separate unique design with only a magnified rangefinder. It's simplicity has contributed to the T's rangefinder ruggedness.
Many buyers of Voigtlander Bessas are comparatively new to rangefinders, and buy the Bessas because they are not willing to make a Leica size investment which right now is about 6x the Bessa R2A / R3A price. Rangefinder Newbies sometimes over react when something is wrong, or misunderstand things when nothing is wrong with the RF/VF.
Suggestions for checking the rangefinder on ANY Leica mount rangefinder camera:
1) Forget testing anything with a Russian screw mount lens. Your results vary with the Vodka ration the day the lens left the factory.
2) Infinity for test purposes is something with straight at least a MILE away (or further). Infinity is NOT across the street or a few blocks away.
3) IF the rangefinder aligns correctly at infinity, 99.9999% of the time the rangefinder will also be correct throughout the rest of the focusing range, so no other check is necessary unless you are having focusing problems at other distances.
4) it is toughest for a camera's rangefinder (any rangefinder) to focus lenses accurately wide open and close up. If you are using a fast lens like a 50/1, 75/1.4, 85/2 or 85/1.5, or a 135 lens, make sure the camera's rangefinder effectively baselength is long enough to handle the lens consistently -- instead of claiming you are having rangefinder accuracy problems when in fact you are just asknig too much of a particular camera / lens combination. .
in the case of the Voigtlander Bessas, all the Bessas have a long enough effective rangefinder baselength to consistently focus the Voigtlander Leica mount lenses throughout their focusing range.
However once you mount any of the the above list of lenses, you are exceeding the Voigtlander Bessa R / R2 / R2A / R3A's ability to focus those lenses WIDE OPEN and CLOSE UP. Stop those same lenses down several stops or extend the focus range to 15 feet or beyond, and you will be back into the Bessa's accurate focusing range.
This is not to say that the Voigtlander Bessa R2A / R3A never need rangefinder alignment. Every rangefinder camera will eventually need rangefinder alignment, including Leica. But it is to say this problem has greatly been exagerated, and real world is not anything for R2A / R3A's owners to worry about.