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DIY: Konica Hexar RF alignment
Old 11-04-2004   #1
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DIY: Konica Hexar RF alignment

DIY: Hexar RF alignment in 5 posts (with images)..

If you are left eye dominant like I am, you may find the rangefinder of the Konica Hexar RF to be not ideally aligned. This is because the perception of the vertical alignment is affected by the position of your eye; keep your eye either too high or too low and the rangefinder spot becomes blurry. With the viewfinder at the extreme left edge of the camera, it's difficult to position the left eye comfortably to view both the shutter speed scale and the rangefinder spot. After (unsuccessfully) trying to switch to right eye focussing, I decided to tweak the rangefinder alignment instead.

Here's how I went about it, and what my findings were..

Warning: opening the camera may void your guarantee; adjusting the alignment certainly will do so.

Disclaimer: note, that I can not take any responsibility for loss of guarantee or damage to your camera.

There are several descriptions of how to adjust the Hexar RF rangefinder floating around the web. They advise to remove a small plastic plug from the top of the camera; to poke a screwdriver in there and to turn a screw (horizontal alignment) and a knurled wheel (vertical alignment). At first I tried to do it this way, but the wheel wouldn't budge. Neither would the screw. After opening the camera, I found out why.
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Old 11-04-2004   #2
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Opening the top cover, the screws..

The top cover is held on with four screws and the ISO/EV dial. Three of the four screws are visible on the outside. Turn them counter clock wise to take them out. They are small, so take care not to loose them. The fourth screw is even smaller. It's located under the leatherette near the bayonet ring (at the right hand side when seen from the front). The leatherette can be pulled back just enough to remove (counter clock wise) this screw.

See picture for approximate locations..
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Old 11-04-2004   #3
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Opening the top cover, the ISO/EV dial..

The inner disk on the ISO/EV dial has two tiny holes. Using two very small screwdrivers stuck into these holes, it can be turned counter clock wise to take off the ISO/EV dial. It's best to keep the dial at +/-0 EV for when the dial needs to be mounted again, although the +/- led in the viewfinder will provide a clue of whether the dial is mounted correctly.

See picture for inner dial and the two holes..

The top cover can now be pulled off from the camera. There are no wires to the flash hot shoe. Instead, there are two tiny springs attached to the inside of the shoe that push against two pads on a printed circuit board inside.
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Last edited by pvdhaar : 11-04-2004 at 06:35.
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Old 11-04-2004   #4
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Adjusting the vertical alignment..

As soon as the top cover was off, I knew why the knurled wheel whouldn't turn. A blob of wax was poured over the wheel and its retainer. With a scalpel I cut through the wax. I could now turn the wheel. There are two protrusions on the retainer that should provide some leverage in case someone wants to use a screwdriver to turn the wheel, but it's still very stiff so I had to use (small) pliers instead.

The lens inside the knurled wheel is excentric and by turning the wheel moves the rangefinder coincident image up/down. Note, that turning it affects horizontal alingnment as well, so vertical is the first adjustment to be done.

As a proper view through the viewfinder requires presence of the diopter in top cover, that needs to be put back on properly between adjustments to judge alignment. If the top cover and diopter is not mounted properly, a wrong conclusion about the alignment is drawn.

The wheel and retainer are mounted on a small metal plate that rotates when the RF arm in the lens mount moves forward/backwards.

On this small plate there's a small screw that serves to adjust horizontal alignment (focussing). This screw is held tight with a clamping ring and therefore also very hard to turn. Only a screwdriver that fits perfectly should be used. Too small or too large will probably damage the head of the screw.

See picture for the wheel and the screw..
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Old 11-04-2004   #5
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Adjusting the horizontal alignment..

The horizontal alignment is much tougher to get right than I expected. There are two problems. First, when turning counter clock wise, the horizontal alignment screw turns the plate on which it is mounted as well, this can be considered merely a nuisance.

Second, adjusting for infinity as is often advised for rangefinder alignment works out less than perfect (to say the least). Test photo's showed that the focus was off (too close) in the close range (3ft/1m .. 10ft/3m). Looking at the focus indication on the lens barrel confirmed this.

So I had to redo the horizontal alignment. As errors up close show up more prominent than at infinity, I decided to do it for 1 meter instead. Using the film plane indicator as a guidance, I used a ruler to put an object at exactly 1 meter. Then focussed and looked at the focus indication on the lens barrel. I adjusted the rangefinder until it lined up with the lens indication at 1m. (All the while putting the top cover on to get a proper view and taking it off to adjust further. Of course this was done without putting the screws in!).

When done, I found that not only was the alignment at 1m perfect. It was also the case at 1.5m and surprisingly spot on at infinity.

I'm now a happy left eyed user of a Hexar RF.

Final picture is of the front where the knurled wheel, the horizontal adjustment screw and the location of the fourth cover mounting screw are indicated..
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Old 11-04-2004   #6
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Looking at this is scarier than watching a real surgical operation in the Discovery channel.

However... I'm glad you can do these things!
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Old 11-04-2004   #7
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Excellent write-up! Thanks! I wish I knew this before I sold my Hexar, otherwise, I'd still have it.
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Old 05-17-2005   #8
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Great write-up. I did this on my new (to me) Hexar, which had a good deal of vertical misalignment. Everything came out fine. I added a little dab of Loctite to the gear to keep it aligned. Just be careful with this stuff as it will eat through all sorts of rubber and plastic.
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Old 08-15-2005   #9
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For clarity, the hidden screw is directly in line above the frameline lever, just below the top edge of the "leatherette".

Despite the hatch on top of the Hexar RF for adjustment, as the authour points out you really want to remove the top to do this. The clearances around the adjustment screw are very tight -- you want to be able to see what you are doing, even if it does require putting on and taking off the top to chcek it each time.

(my feedback after doing it this weekend)
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Old 08-15-2005   #10
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To make things simpler, the whole thing can be done through the plastic cap on the top deck of the camera. It is exactly the same system as the CLE. Big cofwheel for vertical and small screw for horizontal.

thanks a lot!
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Old 08-15-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laptoprob
To make things simpler, the whole thing can be done through the plastic cap on the top deck of the camera. It is exactly the same system as the CLE. Big cofwheel for vertical and small screw for horizontal.

thanks a lot!
Hi Rob.

Is there any chance you could get a sketch up here somehow that would help someone identify the right places to poke a screwdriver while peering through the little hole..?

Thanks!

Tom
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Old 08-15-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laptoprob
To make things simpler, the whole thing can be done through the plastic cap on the top deck of the camera. It is exactly the same system as the CLE. Big cofwheel for vertical and small screw for horizontal.

thanks a lot!
I would advise anyone attempting a re-alignment for the first time on a Hexar RF body to open the top. The reason is that there are bodies where the cogwheel has been locked to its holder with a blob of a wax like substance. If you force the cogwheel when this blob is not cut away beforehand, you'll probably end up bending some parts or losing grip on the cogwheel and then poking into something vulnerable.
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Old 08-16-2005   #13
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Agree with pvdhaar (on the vertical alignment cog marked with green arrow).

Also, the horizontal alignment screw (marked in yellow) is very close to part of the finder optical path (see image). You tend to have to use a larger screwdriver because the slot in the screw is wide (as pvdhaar pointed out, if not, you will start to mar the screw)

Also included, an image that shows where the smaller, hidden body screw is that needs to be removed to remove the top.

Pulling the top off my Contax G1 was much scarier.
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Old 08-16-2005   #14
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Good advice from all of you adn some more useful pictures - thanks. And

I will have a gentle poke through the hole, and if anything is at all stiff or doubtful I'll take the top off...

Tom
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Old 08-16-2005   #15
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fyi, turning the horizontal alignment screw, at least in my case, was pretty stiff.
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Old 01-10-2006   #16
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I recently picked up a Hexar RF and the vertical alignment is off. I will cautiously realign it myself but once the wheel is properly adjusted, what can I use to tighten it ? I think Loctite is a bit too strong, in case one wants to readjust the alignment later.
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Old 01-10-2006   #17
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First of all, the wheel isn't turned easily. At least it wasn't on my Hexar. It's perfectly possible that you don't even need to lock it. That said, there are several types of Loctite, ranging from permanent fix, through strong lock to light lock. As there are no strong forces acting on the wheel, other than expansion and shrinking under temperature changes, I'd suggest using the lightest Loctite version you can find.
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Old 01-10-2006   #18
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Thanks for sharing your valuable experience pvdhaar !
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One caveat
Old 02-22-2006   #19
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One caveat

Just for full disclosure (and since I posted a few pictures of it), I came across this from the original p-net article about doing this alignment ( I was searching on something else Hexar related). I can't vouch for whether this is correct or not, and I have never touched the knurled wheel myself, but I think anyone who attempts this alignment should be aware of it, until someone with access to a repair manual or service guide or a K-M tech can verify it one way or another (I tried to buy a Hexar RF service manual, but K-M wouldn't sell it to me). Anyway, the text, verbatum from the p-net thread goes like this:

"CAUTION: ERRONEOUS INFO ALERT! The toothed wheel *is* for adjusting the infinity alignment--ONLY, *not* the vertical alignment, although undue pressure on the assembly can disturb the vertical alignment. The small screw by the condensor lens is to adjust the focus plane of the secondary image to the same virtual distance as the primary viewfinder image. *Do NOT* touch that screw! The vertical alignment of the Hexar's RF has to be done with the top plate removed, as it involves raising/lowering an entire subassembly. This info came straight from a very helpful Konica tech back when I got my Hexar."

I, personally, have turned the screw marked with a yellow arrow to adjust the horizontal alignment, with no issue.

found here: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-...?msg_id=003iOj

Why chance it, you ask? 'cause K-M charges a pretty much flat $168 US to work on a Hexar RF, for any reason (I just had one come back).
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Update from the Service Manual
Old 06-26-2006   #20
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Update from the Service Manual

I was finally able to get a copy of the service manual.

Verbatum (updated/corrected 16FEB07 in italics):

1. Up-down [infinity] coincidence adjustment: Turn the range finding lens frame (1)
2. Up-down 1m coincidence adjustment: Set the lens distance mark to 1m and check at a distance of 1m. If out of focus, set halfway to [infinity] (use 1m chart)
3. Left-right [infinity] coincidence adjustment: turn the range finding lens lever pin B (2)
4. Left-right 1m coincidence adjustment: Set the lens distance mark to 1m and adjust by turning the roller adjustment pin (3) at a distance of 1m (Use 1m chart)
5. Left-right [infinity] coincidence adjustment: If out of focus, repeat steps 3-5
6. After adjustment, fit the viewfinder cover and check.

I updated the previous image to match the diagram in the service manual (the numbers match the text):
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hexar1.JPG (327.7 KB, 728 views)
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Old 06-26-2006   #21
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I was thinking of trading my M2 for a Hexar RF, now I'm having second thoughts!
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Old 06-26-2006   #22
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Issy, anything in the service manual about adjusting the frameline alignment?
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Old 06-26-2006   #23
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Is there any way that adjusting the horizontal RF alignment can affect the framelines?

I made a minor adjustment some time ago following the instructions above. Not difficult at all. I was able to adjust the RF, but ended up with the framelines having about a one or two degree list, dipping to the right. I went through the steps in reverse, but could not undo it.

Just a minor inconvenience, which I am sure can easily be fixed by a trip to Greg Weber or KM/Sony, but not enough of a hassle for me to do that since it just was serviced recently before the extended warranty was up.
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Old 06-26-2006   #24
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ooh, make a pdf of the service manual and put in on the internet!
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Old 06-26-2006   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_g
Is there any way that adjusting the horizontal RF alignment can affect the framelines?
Possible. The only reference I have found so far is if you look at the two photo's in my older reply, there is a black "card" masking the mechanism between the horizontal alignment screw and the viewfinder glass... behind that card is some alignment pins that can be turned " to make the frame lines show clearly"... not sure if that means adjusting the tilt, or just insuring that the correct frames lines come up with the correct lens.
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Old 06-26-2006   #26
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Quote:
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I was thinking of trading my M2 for a Hexar RF, now I'm having second thoughts!
Having worked with a pair of HRFs for about four years (and counting), I think you'd be safe in getting one. The thing I'd think twice about is trading away an M2 – I, myself, would like a user M6 or the like as a non-motorized M-body option; the HRF is reasonably quiet as motorized cameras go, but not as quiet as a Leica M, and once in a while, that level of quiet can be useful.


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Old 06-26-2006   #27
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Seems getting out from behind my company's firewall allowed me to post images. Reply #20 has been updated with an updated image to match the service manual text.
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Old 02-08-2007   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Issy
I was finally able to get a copy of the service manual.

Verbatum:

1. Up-down [infinity] coincidence adjustment: Turn the range finding lens frame (1)
2. Up-down 1m coincidence adjustment: Set the lens distance mark to 1m and check at a distance of 1m. If out of focus, set halfway to [infinity] (use 1m chart)
3. Left-right 1m coincidence adjustment: turn the range finding lens lever pin B (2)
4. Left-right 1m coincidence adjustment: Set the lens distance mark to 1m and adjust by turning the roller adjustment pin (3) at a distance of 1m (Use 1m chart)
5. Left-right [infinity] coincidence adjustment: If out of focus, repeat steps 3-5
6. After adjustment, fit the viewfinder cover and check.

I updated the previous image to match the diagram in the service manual (the numbers match the text):
i need to adjust horizontal alignment at 1m. the focus is a couple centimeters behind what's indicated by the rf spot. i don't get what the manual is saying at all! it sounds like you need to adjust both the range finding lens lever pin B and the roller adjustment pin. by what procedure...
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Old 02-15-2007   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan
i need to adjust horizontal alignment at 1m. the focus is a couple centimeters behind what's indicated by the rf spot. i don't get what the manual is saying at all! it sounds like you need to adjust both the range finding lens lever pin B and the roller adjustment pin. by what procedure...
I have only adjusted infinity, but as I read it (and I copied, verbatum, as written out of the service manual), there are two adjustments. One done with the lens set at infinity, and one done at 1m focus (with a target placed accurately at 1 meter). I would assume that to a certain extent, the two interact, so you have to go back and forth a couple of times.

If I get the chance, between now and the weekend, I'll scan the actual text and diagrams and post. Like a lot of the service manuals I have owned or seen, then tend to be a bit cryptic anyway.
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HEXAR RF alignment
Old 02-16-2007   #30
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HEXAR RF alignment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Issy
If I get the chance, between now and the weekend, I'll scan the actual text and diagrams and post.
As promised. I did find one error in reply 20, and corrected it. These are from the service manual.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg HEXARRF_alignment.jpg (205.6 KB, 622 views)
File Type: jpg HEXARRF_alignment_text.jpg (127.2 KB, 464 views)
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Old 02-16-2007   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_g
Is there any way that adjusting the horizontal RF alignment can affect the framelines?
Doesn't appear to be... this is the only mention of the framelines, prefaced by:

"Adjusting the Visual Field Frame
Turn the visual field frame selector adjusting pin (49150) and adjust the visual field frame so that the patterns shown below can be seen clearly."
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File Type: jpg HEXARRF_framelines.jpg (175.3 KB, 448 views)
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Old 05-17-2007   #32
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Thanks,

Really helpful. I just fastened the on/of switch which was getting loose.
So far for reliability of this otherwise great camera.

Cheers,

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Old 06-08-2007   #33
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Thanks for the Help. My horizontal was off just a little bit. It bothered me enough that I didn't really want to shoot with the camera in low light bc most images were slightly out of focus. ie



I sync'ed it up to my Leica, and now everything should be great. The directions were great, and it was a simple procedure. Way better than paying the $168 to fix it.

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Old 08-21-2007   #34
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I did as indicated, which worked well enough; I couldn't get the vertical to match perfectly and thought I'd just have to live with it. Then I discovered that the lens immediately to the right of the viewfinder was loose, the one at 45 degrees or so to the film plane. It was sitting high and after it's being seated properly - and tacked with adhesive - the vertical snapped right into alignment. I suspect that this may be the real reason why the original alignment had so quickly gone off; I don't believe that the adjustment screw and wheel could easily move under normal use.
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Old 09-12-2007   #35
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Wow! Thanks so much for posting this. My Hexar's power switch got really loose; it took me just 7 mins to fix it! In case anyone is interested, the power switch is held by 2 small screws (see pic for details). Thanks again!

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Old 11-07-2007   #36
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Can anybody tell me what type of screwdriver I need to get the film speed dial off so that the top plate can be removed? I have a screwdriver that is small enough to remove the four screws that secure the top plate, but it is not small enough to remove the film speed dial.

My power switch has become quite loose so I'm trying to repair it. Michiel, I see that you had the same problem...anything I should know about in particular to do the fix?

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Old 11-07-2007   #37
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You don't have to remove the shutter speed dial (see post #2, this topic).

You do need some sort of two-prong plier or spanner to remove the film speed dial (see post #3 this topic) --- something with two pins. Micro-tools probably has something.

I have a pair of right-angle dental tweezers with worn nibs in my tool kit that engages both holes so I can turn the cap (see image).

Bill
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Old 01-06-2008   #38
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I recently obtained a Hexar RF on ebay and had to tweak the rf as it was badly off at at infinity and vertical was slightly off. Following the direction on this thread was great but here's a few additional notes about my experience. I tried the vertical and horizontal rf adjustments with just the top plug removed and was able the adjust both but getting the "seal "off the vertical adj. cogwheel was a royal pain as I needed jeweler's forceps and a low powered loupe to see what I was doing. This setup is very tough to adjust (but worth it) because the rangefinding lens is set with it's optical axis as an eccentric in the cogwheel mount so turning it affect BOTH vertical and horizontal setting. The degree that each setting is affected varies depending on the "clock position" of the eccentric position of the rangefinding lens' optical center in which the center hole of the clock repesents the geometric center of the cogwheel and the clock numbers represent possible positions of the rangefinding lens' optical axis. In other words, if the optical axis is near 6-12:00, the horizontal alignment is mainly affected by turning the cogwheel and conversely if the optical axis is near 3-9:00, vertical alignment is mainly affected by turning the cogwheel. Another issue with the cogwheel is that once the glue seal is cut off, the cogwheel is easy to turn and this explains the need for the seal. In this area I found the Minolta CLE superior because the cogwheel was tighter and didn't need a glue seal to secure it from vibration. The adjacent infinity focus adjustment screw is very tight and because of this, the downward force of the screwdriver will temporarily move the vertical image down a little, so you should rock focus back and forth a few times and wait a little while for it to gradually move back up to the original position. Once both were adjusted, I checked the focus at 1 meter and it was off. To fix this, you must remove the top cover (which I should have done in the first place but was hesitant). Once done, the location of the near focus adjustment screw is visible providing the black adhesive patch is removed that covers the opening. Turning this screw was much easier than for infinity and it nicely allowed me to reset the focus to exactly where I wanted it. I then checked focus at infinity and it shifted a little so that had to be reset. You may have to go back and forth with these two adjustments a few times but at least the vertical is not affected by these back and forth adjustments. Another interesting point on my preliminary testing is that the rf coupling accuracy and back focus issue of the Hexar RF using Hexanon or Leica M lenses does not exist once the rf is properly adjusted. I think all the fuss in the past can be traced to less than exact rf adjustment. Film channel depth and inner rail placement differences are of no great significance based on my tests.
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Last edited by awilder : 05-29-2008 at 10:31.
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Old 01-07-2008   #39
Issy
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Interesting. There are a few of us who have had different experiences between Hexanon and Leica (including Voigtlander) lenses --- basically in the infinity focus location -- aligned for one, it is off on the other:

http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00DAzK

Likewise, for those that use LTMs, there are "bad" and "good" thread adapters as well, which will also throw the alignment point off (I had a VC 50 Nokton on a 3rd party LTM converter not match infinity point, but a 35 summicron did --- change to a Leica adapter, no issue).

Anyway, glad to hear the experience of one person who went through the entire alignement.

btw, checking the service manual for your PM question.

Regards,

Bill
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Old 10-08-2008   #40
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Where are all the pictures from the original post ? Are they still available anywhere else ?
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