I received the R3A and the 40mm lens from Stephen Gandy at CameraQuest a few days ago. Just want to share my initial impressions and first images taken with the camera and lens for anyone who might be interested.
As a preface, I'll say that I shoot with Nikon SLRs mainly, F100, N80, FM3A and prime lenses in the range of 28-85; and I shoot with a Hexar AF rangefinder.
My perspective is that of someone new to a manual-focus rangefinder. Having said that, I am extremely happy with the R3A. The frame lines are crisp, much sharper than the hexar's, are easy to see and compose with, and I am really enjoying viewing with them. (The 40's frame lines are pushed pretty much to the edge of the finder.)
The R3A body feels better in my hand than my fm3a does--I didn't think it would (I really like the feel of the FM3A); the r3a is a pleasure to hold (I attached the side grip). It's a bit lighter than the fm3a, perhaps a bit less brass and such, although the r3a is a metal body and feels professional and sturdy. I'm not worrying about it the way I worry about my f100s getting knocked.
The finder: I absolutely love the 1:1 viewfinder. I didn't know what to expect, but as soon as I looked through it, I knew we were a good match. Surprisingly (to me at least), I found it easy to work with both eyes open right off the bat, and I find I enjoy photographing this way. I don't quite know how to express why this is so, but I think I'm able to watch with less effort for the moment I want. I seem to take fewer frames of a subject this way, b/c I'm able to choose an image with more certainty.
Here are some photos from the first roll. The image of the cats was taken at f/1.4. The images of the lounge and the woman wrapped in a blanket were taken at f/2. The rest were taken at f/4 and f/5.6, I think. I tried to give a sense of the lens's "bokeh." Hope this is helpful.