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New R3A owner, what lens should I look for?
Old 11-20-2008   #1
PollitowuzHere
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New R3A owner, what lens should I look for?

Well, this is my first post here on the RFF forum, after months of lurking and reading around. I recently purchased an used R3A that's almost mint, wondering what glass should I be looking for? I'm currently going to get a Skopar 35mm with the M-adapter, probably looking at either the 40mm Nokton or a Canon 50mm f/1.2. Can the Canon be accurately focused with the R3A? Also, is the 50mm Heliar f/2.0 a better lens compared to the Canon? Thanks
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Old 11-20-2008   #2
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I always think the reason goes to a R3A instead of R2 is the 40mm frameline. the 40mm Nokton is a very good lens and perfect fit for the camera.

Focus a 50mm/1.2 with the R3a is difficult (someone said they can get accurate result but I quite suspect) because of the short BL.
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Old 11-20-2008   #3
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Well I went for the R3 for the 1:1, the 40mm framelines, and the fact that the EBL is a bit more longer than the R2
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Old 11-21-2008   #4
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The Skopar 35 and the Nokton 40 are so close to each other in focal length that there's probably little sense in having both. As has been said, the R3A has frame lines for 40mm. Depending on your needs, I think you'll want either a 75/90 or a 28 or wider.
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Old 11-21-2008   #5
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The R3A and 40/1.4 is such a fine combination that you wonder why it wasn't done before, to such an extent that I'd advise in favour of the 40mm above the 35mm for this camera.

For a good cost-effective set I'd go for the 25mm Color Skopar (get the screwmount one with the included viewfinder for the R3A) and the 75mm VC Heliar or a second hand Leica 90mm Tele-Elmarit (the tiny thin one).

You'll want for little else with this combination, but I'd personally look to add a vintage 50mm Leica RF lens such as an Elmar, Summar, Summitar, Summarit or Summicron (condition/price is more important than specific type probably) for a completely different look to your photographs.
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Old 11-21-2008   #6
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You've put the cart before the horse.

Select your lens(es) first then the camera later.

Anyway, you've chosen a great camera which is so well-suited to a Voigtlander Nokton 40mm/f1.4 that you'd be nuts not to go that way. A superb lens.

All you have to do now is decide whether the multicoated version or the single coated version suits your photography.

I would also recommend the trigger winder to give you a vertical hang as the camera with lens is not well-balanced otherwise.
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Old 11-21-2008   #7
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I have the 40mm/f1.4, can't go wrong there, also the Heliar 50mm/f2 works beautifully with it.
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Old 11-21-2008   #8
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One more vote for the 40mm; great match with the R3A

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Old 11-21-2008   #9
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The 40/1.4 is an excellent lens and is a pretty obvious choice on an R3A.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roundg View Post
Focus a 50mm/1.2 with the R3a is difficult (someone said they can get accurate result but I quite suspect) because of the short BL.
Not really. I'm getting good results with mine. The main problems I've encountered are 1) that the hood blocks the rangefinder window, and 2) that glare due to bright overhead lighting reflecting off the chrome parts aft of the focussing ring can swamp the rangefinder.
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Old 11-21-2008   #10
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If you can find one, the Rollei Sonnar 40mm f/2.8 HFT lens is a superb fit with the R3A, although it lacks the speed of the Nokton. Excellent images, very compact, a pleasure to shoot (with adequate light).
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Old 11-21-2008   #11
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Yet another vote for 40mm 1.4. Canon’s 50 1.2 is a fine lens, no doubt about it (I’ll probably end up getting it one day), but 40mm focal length is so useful! I find you can do a lot more with it, a lot more versatile for different situations. I haven’t seen the results from mine just yet, so I’ll reserve my judgment on the image quality, although you can check numerous examples on the interwebs.

Agreed with Claremont on the trigger/grip too, he knows what he’s talking about Not only does it give you a comfortable hang (as opposed to lousy tilted hang of “bare” Bessa) but the trigger is a quite cool alternative to top winding.

For real, R3A and 40mm were made for each other, you MUST own that combo. Oh, and the rumours are true – it IS hard to use 40mm framelines on R3A.
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Old 11-21-2008   #12
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The R3A 40mm framelines are very close to the edge.

So ignore them.

Framing with a rangefinder camera is a bit inaccurate anyway.

It's not an SLR.

Use the whole viewfinder with an R3A and 40mm, and you'll do fine.

And be careful with the trigger winder, it's not a 5 frames a second motordrive. Click, and wait, and wind. Don't rush it.
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Old 11-21-2008   #13
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Thanks for the advise Jon, I’m indeed taking care with the winder.
My framelines comment was more of an observation than a criticism. Even ignoring the framilenes and using the whole finder I have to look left and right to see the edges. I have enough experience with RF to know that the framing is not 100% accurate. If anything, all the finders I’ve used before were quite small. The one on R3A is very BIG! (heh, since when is that a bad thing, right?)
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Old 11-21-2008   #14
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I'd also suggest a 40mm - if you think you can live with an f2.0 lens, get the c Summicron or M Hexanon - they have the benefit of being tiny, obviously also the Nokton will fit the bill...
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Old 11-21-2008   #15
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Maybe a 40/75 combo? The 40/1.4 seems like the obvious choice and the VC 75/2.5 is very nice.
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Old 11-21-2008   #16
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You would have great coverage if you chose the 40mm and the 75mm or 90mm. I use the 40/75 combination alot and rarely need another lens.

That being said I often carry the ZI 25mm...just in case.

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Old 11-21-2008   #17
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I just bought a 40/1.4 for my R3A. I'll get back to you.
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Old 11-21-2008   #18
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Is there any notable difference between the SC and MC version of the 40mm? I like the look of the SC in both color and b&w, but don't know if its that prone to flaring.
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Old 11-21-2008   #19
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Yes, the 40mm SC does flare, but it also gives a lovely vintage feel.

It's a trade off.
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Old 11-22-2008   #20
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Thanks for the info. on the flaring. Would a 40/90 be equally flexible as a 40/75?
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Old 11-22-2008   #21
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There's not so much real world difference between a 75mm and a 90mm. You certainly wouldn't want both.

The 75mm lens in the Voigtlander line is faster than the 90mm, and that may make a difference depending on your photography.
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Old 11-23-2008   #22
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I have an R3A and have had a 40/1.4 since I received it. Great combination, great photos. It is a very light and compact set, and I really enjoy shooting with both eyes open thanks to the 1:1 finder. The framelines and focusing patch seem to float out in space in front of you. It really changed the way I interact with a scene. The caveat is that I do not wear glasses; the 40mm framelines are difficult to see with them.

I've had a CV15 Heliar for the longest time as my wide. Honestly, I feel like it's a little too wide sometimes. I'm switching to the CV 21/4P and getting a Leica 90mm Tele Elmarit on the portrait end. I really like having small "go anywhere" lenses, and I feel like the 90/2.8 TE, the 40/1.4, and either the 21/4P or the 25/4P will be a great combination. I've used the Tele-Elmarit before and I can vouch for it as a compact, great performer.
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Old 11-24-2008   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpsawin View Post
You would have great coverage if you chose the 40mm and the 75mm or 90mm. I use the 40/75 combination alot and rarely need another lens.

That being said I often carry the ZI 25mm...just in case.

Best regards,

Bob
I always wanted a camera with this frame line combo, but I've yet to get the Bessa R3a for the 75 lux. Has anyone tried this combo? I've read about the Bessa's EBL and its 1:1 VF, but will it be pushing it for the lux. The 40 cron-c is still working fine on my M, but the 40mm lines would be nice.
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Old 11-24-2008   #24
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I think the Planar 50mm is a better choice than the Heliar unless you really like the character of the Heliar (which I find I don't). Personally, if you're getting a Skopar 35, I think a 50 would be the best match for it. I used a current Cron with the R3A and loved the way the 50 is in the viewfinder. It's just right.
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Old 11-24-2008   #25
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Gary E, I use my 75f2 Summicron on one of my R3's (a R3M) as it gives me free standing 75 frames. No stupid 50/75 combo as in my M's! I have used the 75f1.4 with it too and though a bit tricky at f1.4 and 1-1.5 meters, it works well (better than the M's as a matter of fact).
The 40f1.4 SC/MC is a perfect fit for the R3 series. It is a bit tighter than the 35, but not enough to create problems. It is also a very good lens, sharp, nice contrast and useful at f1.4. The choice between SC and MC is not critical. The difference, particularly in black/white is very subtle. Mainly a bit more detail in deep shadows. The SC can flare, but you really have to work at it though. I haven't shot the MC and SC side by side in the same light so I cant say if the SC flares easier than the MC. I tend to use them without really looking at which is which.
The R3's really spoils you for viewfinders though. Once you used one, the M's look a bit "dinky" by comparison. The only finder better than the R3 is the Zeiss ZM one - and you can almost buy two R3's for that money!
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Old 12-14-2008   #26
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Would a 28/40 combo be equally helpful? I'm currently wanting wider rather than tele for the Bessa, the 75mm could come later.
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