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Voigtlander Bessa Leica Mount Cameras Made in Japan by Cosina in partnership with Voigtlander, the many modern Voigtlander Leica Screw Mount and Leica M mount bodies offer inexpensive and often unique options into entering the world of Leica rangefinder photography.

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User thoughts on R2 vs R2/3M
Old 06-19-2018   #1
awa1l
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User thoughts on R2 vs R2/3M

Hey everyone, I've been considering the purchase of a mechanical Voigtlander rangefinder but have a few questions about the different cameras.

I have a Canon 7 with a 50mm f/2.8 lens, however I've had issues with light leaks and rangefinder patch alignment. It's been a nice camera, but I would like to get a more modern camera without such issues.

I currently have a Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 VM lens that I have adapted for use with digital mirrorless cameras. Given this, the obvious choice would be an R3M however I've read that the 40mm framelines can be quite difficult to see. I also think that I would like the option of using a 35mm lens in the future as it is what I have mainly used with my photography. I figured the 35mm framelines would suffice for the 40mm anyway. Does this sound reasonable?

This brings me to the choice between the R2 and R2M. Both sound like very capable cameras on paper, but I would like to know if there are any noticeable differences or issues from a user perspective. The metering is not super important to me (I'm used to a relatively inaccurate meter on the Canon 7).

I also was wondering whether the rangefinder patch alignment is a significant issue with these cameras? I do like the idea of a modern M-mount rangefinder, but if this is an issue I feel I would be better off spending a bit more on a meter-less M4-P or similar as I haven't read much about rangefinder issues on Leicas.

I hope that all makes sense,
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Old 06-19-2018   #2
Yokosuka_Mike
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I use the 40mm f1.2 on my Bessa R3M and I've not noticed any problems with viewfinder frame lines or anything else..







All the best,
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Old 06-19-2018   #3
awa1l
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Beautiful camera! Thanks for the reply. I had just read that some people had difficulty seeing the 40mm framelines on the R3M. Great to see you've had no issues!

I think like many things it can be easy to find out about the negatives as people will discuss them whereas when things work well they often don't mention it. The rangefinder alignment issue is the main thing I was worried about with the Voigtlanders. I figured I would post to see if there are also some other significant differences between the R2 and newer R2/3M models as they are the cameras I am tossing up between. I would definitely be very happy to save some money over a substantially older Leica (the M6 ticks the boxes but is out of my price range).



Cheers.
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Old 06-19-2018   #4
Ko.Fe.
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I think "some" is translated as "with glasses".
Overwise it is 1:1 VF with accurate 40mm frames.
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Old 06-20-2018   #5
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I’ve owned many Bessa rangefinders and overall they are good cameras. The great thing is that you can adjust the RF alignment yourself in quite a simple process. The downside in my experience is that they tend to be set up to lean toward front focus. In order to get accurate focus wide open and close up I had to adjust ALL of my voigtlander cameras to focus before infinity (so the patch doesn’t quite line up when focusing on an object at infinity. This happened to me with an R2, R2M and R3M x 2 which I have owned over the years. In the end I bought a Leica M6 TTL which lines up perfectly at infinity and focuses perfectly throughout the range. It’s also easy to adjust infinity focus (vertical adjustment is harder).
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Old 06-20-2018   #6
awa1l
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I appreciate the comments Mjd-djm. I had read that alignment was fairly simple, but the front focus issue is new to me. This is the sort of thing that makes me think I may be better off spending extra for a Leica.
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Old 06-22-2018   #7
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Yeah, the R3 finder and 40mm frame lines did not work for me (with glasses). Couldn't see the meter readout, either (was R3A). R2 works just fine though.

You know there are two adjustments for a CV rangefinder, right? You should not need to mess up the infinity to get up close correct. And Leica RFs aren't magic, they can need the same adjustments... they do tend to hold adjustments over time and rough handling a bit better.
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Old 06-22-2018   #8
Peter Wijninga
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I'm having the same experience as Yokosuka Mike with the R3M and the 1.4/40 (with glasses)...no problems. The only 'problem' you will encounter is that the price of the Bessas is going through the roof.
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Old 06-22-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yokosuka_Mike View Post
I use the 40mm f1.2 on my Bessa R3M and I've not noticed any problems with viewfinder frame lines or anything else..







All the best,
Mike
No problems here and I wear glasses.
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Old 06-22-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
I'm having the same experience as Yokosuka Mike with the R3M and the 1.4/40 (with glasses)...no problems. The only 'problem' you will encounter is that the price of the Bessas is going through the roof.
Yes sad to say. As soon as Mr K. stopped making the Bessa's the price really jumped. I should have bought 10 of them. Anyway for me the sweet spot is the R3M.
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Old 06-22-2018   #11
mpaniagua
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Been owning a R2 for 3 years. Really nice camera.

For me, only "issue" is its "loud" shutter compared to Leica M/LTM, although not bad, you can live happily with it.

Been consider selling it but always regret and don't put it for sale.

The other Bessa I own, a T, is great as well.

If I had the option, I would go the R2/R3M route instead of the M4-P. M4-P is a great camera (use mine along with my M6) but I think 40mm will suit better on the Bessa.


Marcelo
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Old 06-22-2018   #12
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The final series R2M / R3M / R4M are predictably the better choices - as they are the last and most improved over previous designs. They also have much quieter shutters than previous cameras.

There are 3 unique Bessa M mechanical cameras -

The R3M with the 1:1 viewfinder
The R4M with framelines as wide as 21mm
The Bessa T with its long rangefinder and separate accessory shoe viewfinder

My tech regularly repairs Bessa rangefinders that DIYS adjusters have butchered and damaged.
Its your camera, but its not a good idea for a non repair person to attempt adjust or repair Bessas themselves,
unless they accept the chance of damaging their cameras.
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Old 06-22-2018   #13
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They do indeed have a loud shutter compared to most rangefinders. It can be mitigated by using a half case on the camera, and I should mention that the cameras tend to lean forward on a strap and dig into your back. This can be solved with the grip accessory, but then you can't use the half case.

I owned an R2 and an R2A. Nice cameras, never had any focus problems. Very reliable cameras with great meters. On my R3A I had difficulty seeing the whole 50 frame line with my glasses on, but a switch to the R2A w/ it's lower magnification fixed that. The prices, as mentioned, have gone up on the new ones. You're getting into used Leica M territory, but you do get a new camera w/ a meter vs a used Leica without a meter.
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