A standard lens for Bessa R3A

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Alexz, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    What would be your preferences (bearing your educated experience) for a normal lens to fit R3A out of:
    - 40mm/1.4 MC Nokton (aperture goes to f/16)
    - 50mm/1.5 Nokton (aperture goes to f/16)
    - 50mm/2.5 Color Skopar (down to f/22)

    I'm assesing an RF route considering either Contax G2 or Bessa choices. More or less learnt about G2, now trying to establish an opinion of Bessa merits...

    Which lens for your opinion is best out of the set optically/mechanically ?
    I'm not terribly picky about fastest aperture possible, f/2.5 sounds good enough to me assuming it is working one (sharpness-wise).

    Thanks, Alex
     
  2. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Alex,

    I haven't used any of the lenses you list, only heard what you can find on the internet. You might want to go to cameraquest.com and find out how to subscribe to the cvug (Cosina/Voigtlander Users Group) run by Stephen Gandy, then explore the archives there for specific recommendations on these lenses. You should also look at rangefinderforum.com for users' experience.

    I'd suggest adding the 40mm Summicron-C and 40mm M-Rokkor lenses, both f:2.0, to your list. I have used both of these lenses with excellent results. These were made for the Leica CL and Minolta CLE cameras and are available used for US$250 to US$325 or so. They are both considered excellent lenses and are compact. These are reportedly the lenses that inspired Mr. Kobayashi (sp?) at Cosina to bring out the R3A/M bodies and the C/V 40mm lenses.

    Not to give away the game, but on the whole, I've seen more strongly positive remarks about the 50mm Nokton 1.5 (compared somewhat favorably to older model Leica 50's), a bit less about the 40mm Nokton (with some not liking the bokeh), and the 50 Skopar seems to get the most mediocre ratings in part because of rectilinearity problems. If size is of any concern, the relative sizes are different enough to make the setup pocketable -- or not.

    I've seen a comparison of the C/V 40 Nokton to the older Leica/Minolta 40 on the web somewhere. I'll post a link if I can find it.

    Lee

    Didn't find the comparison I was looking for, but here's a useful link with comments on the C/V 40mm and Leica/Minolta 40mm.
    http://www.photo.net/mjohnston/column70/index.html

    And then I found the comparison I mentioned, translated roughly from the orginal Japanese. Click on thumbnails to enlarge:
    http://tinyurl.com/vxkf6
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2006
  3. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks Lee.
    I'm reading reviews and user reports, the 50mm/1.5 Asph Nokton indeed seems to be the one to get, appears to be an excellent normal lens..
     
  4. mikeg

    mikeg Member

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    I prefer a slightly wider view on a rangefinder, so I use the 35mm Color Skopar Classic f/2.5 as the standard lens on my R2. Light, small and very sharp. It's one of Voigtlander's best lenses.

    Cheers

    Mike
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    The 35mm Color Skopar Classic f/2.5 is one of my favorites too!
     
  6. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    For a standard lens for any rangefinder you have to decide if you want a normal view or slightly wide. Then the rest is easy!

    I have a 35mm f2 - and love it - narrow and wide DOF when I want it, I have wide forgiving zone focus if I am stopped down. It takes a little bit to get used to if you have 50mm as you main thing, and 50mm has its own benefits.
    35/40/50 are all great.

    Maybe you should get them all! :D
     
  7. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Xmm, I'm now getting tempted by a ZI's Zeiss Planar 50mm/2 as an alternate to Nokton 50mm/1.5 Asph..., about 275$ difference (both brand new) which may be reasonable to handle. In a few reviews/tests of this Nokton, it is mentioned it somewhat flare-prone.
    Any comparative analysis/reviews available online that stuck up Nokton 50mm/1.5 Asph. against ZI's Zeiss Planar 50mm/2 each against other ?

    Thanks, Alex
     
  8. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

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    The Contax G2 is hard to focus if it doesn't lock on properly. Its even harder to focus manually. I got an M7 and now an R3A and I prefer traditional rangefinders.

    Don't get me wrong, the Zeiss T* lenses of the G2 are nice, but why buy into a camera that is no longer supported by its manufacturer?

    --Jeffrey
     
  9. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    I have an R3A with the 50/1.5 Nokton. I haven't ever used the 40/1.4 Nokton though.

    I chose the 50, 'cause I prefer the FOV of a 50mm; that said, I think that it is a stunning lens. I rarely shoot colour, but I shot a roll with it a few months ago and was very pleased with the results. In B&W (my usual medium) the results are stunning. The speed of the lens is very useful when necessary, and I've found the quality from the extremes of aperture to be excellent. This is a very sweet lens for an excellent price.

    YMMV,
    Kent
     
  10. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Jeffrey,

    Alex is talking about the new Zeiss lenses in Leica M-mount for the new Zeiss Ikon rangefinder, not the G2. They'll fit on the R3A.

    Lee
     
  11. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Alex,
    I have the 40mm f/1.4 SC Nokton that I use primarly on a Hexar and I like it a lot. It's very small and light for a f/1.4 lens and handles well. I got the single coated version because I wanted a different look than the more modern Leica lenses that I also own. I only shoot black and white and find the Nokton to be sharp with good contrast, and useable wide open. It does flare a bit sometimes, I assume because of the single coating, but only if there are strong light sources in the image.

    I don't have experience with the other lenses on your list, but my understanding is that you really can't go wrong with any of them. I personally would feel limited to only have an f/2.5 lens. Even if you are mainly photographing outdoors it is nice to have more speed for those times when you really need it.
    Richard Wasserman
     
  12. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Personally, I can't see the point of buying a Bessa R3a unless you want to use the 40 mm Nokton (since it has a viewfinder frame for this), otherwise the logical choice is an R2a with 35, 50, 75 and 90 mm frames.
     
  13. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I thought that the Cosina "Voigtländer" cameras had a Leica screw-thread lens mount. I know that the screw-thread lenses can go on M-mount cameras with an adaptor, but will M-mount lenses also go on a camera set up for the screw-mount? I didn't think that was possible, but probably I am just confused. :smile:
     
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  15. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks David, this is also point to consider. I indeed made up my mind going with 50mm (either 50mm/1.5 Asph. Nokton or Zeiss ZM 50mm/2 (the one for new Zeiss Ikon)), I think I'll still prefer 50mm focal length building my 3-lens lineup (considering 28mm/50mm/90mm).
    Are the 35mm/40mm framelines the only difference between R2A and R3A ?
     
  16. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Essentially yes. Because of this difference, the R3a has 1x viewfinder magnification (which was what a lot of people liked about the Leica M3), while the R2a has 0.7x.

    Regards,

    David
     
  17. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks, yes I checked the spec of R2A once again on CameraQuest - indeed the viewfinder magnification (along with 40mm vs 35mm frame lines) is the only difference.
    However, I intend to build up my lens lineup with 3 (maximum 4 but so far unlikely so far) with 28mm/50mm/90mm and 1:1 finder sounds really good, so I think I would still prefer R3A..
     
  18. timeUnit

    timeUnit Member

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    I think the 40 mm Nokton is allright, but not spectacular. It is very small, well made and produces good results. In comparison with my now sold off Olympus Zuiko 50/1.4, albeit a very different design, the difference is clear. The Zuiko has a lovely sharp/unsharp look (bokeh) and is amazingly sharp at optimum apertures.

    My standard lens on my Bessa R3A is the 21 mm Skopar. A fantastic bargain. Sharp, straight and extremely good at handling backlit subjects.

    Check this out:
    http://timeunit.se/article/132/Settingstar

    If you have the time, you can look through the pictures om my site, there are examples of both Nokton 40 and Skopar 21.

    Here's a nice shot from the Nokton:
    http://timeunit.se/article/91/Thinkbox1

    You can see the bokeh in that shot. That is wide open, or maybe f/2.

    Finally, if you're wearing glasses, I think the R3A with the 50mm Nokton (or ZI Planar 50) is the better choice. I have some difficulties seeing the framelines with the 40 mm and my glasses.
     
  19. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Not confused really, but the R3A mentioned in the original post is an M-mount body, so it could take all M-mount lenses or LTM (Leica screw/thread mount) lenses with adapters. I know the thread has diverged a lot from the original post.

    As info on the Bessa bodies:

    LTM bodies: L, R

    M-mount bodies: T, R2, R2A, R3A, R2M, R3M, R4A, R4M

    C/V has gone to the most flexible body arrangement, the M-mount, on the new bodies since Leica forgot to renew their patent on the M-mount. Where possible, they have also stayed with the most flexible lens mount on their lenses, the LTM, except where lens design has dictated the need for the M-mount.

    Lee
     
  20. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Two salient points for my choice of the R3M are the 1:1 finder, which I love because I very often shoot the 75mm C/V and other longer lenses, and the longer effective rangefinder baseline.

    Given my choice of current/upcoming C/V bodies, I'd take one R3M and one R4M.

    Lee
     
  21. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks a lot guys.
    As I mentioned, I'm leaning towards R3A so far, albeit the new upcoming R4A sounds tempting as well. The bad thing is that one need to wait another 4-5 months for R4M/A to appear on shelves which is far beyond my patience limit...:smile: since my Canon SLR system is getting sold these days leaving me "naked" in my photo passion (aside of my LF 4x5 setup which isn't very convenient for anything but particular photo sessions)....
    Besides, not sure yet how the new R4 line differs from the R3 (aside of added frame lines for wide focal lenghts)..
     
  22. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    As far as I can see, it is the same apart from the fact that the viewfinder has 0.52x magnification and the frames go from 21 to 50 mm (previously, no rangefinder camera has had frames for wider than 28 mm).
     
  23. sbelyaev

    sbelyaev Member

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    Contax G2 is still supported by Kyocera and will be supported for another 9 years.
    Af is very fast and accurate, lenses are fantastic. It is a lot more convenient for taking pictures of moving objects (people, animals, cars.....) than MF cameras. There is no sample to sample variation in lens/body quality. The system is really inexpensive...
    I have a complete system and truly enjoy it.
     
  24. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Yesterday I subscribed to Reid reviews (hoping 33$ are spend well for the early subscription to his reviews helping to make wise choices stepping into not well known by me rangefinder world), checked his comparative review of 50mm standard M-mount lenses comprizing Leica 50mm/1.4 (AFAIK), ZM Zeiss Planar 50/2 and Nokton 50mm/1.5. Both went head-to-head with no distinctive winner and at least according to his comprehensive analysis (which sadly, did not contain flare resistance test) chosing particular one out of these three gets down more to particular personal brand preferences and probably loyality.
    In light of these, Nokton seems to be a wise choice...(unless I'll be convinced flare resistance of Zeiss 50mm/2 takes it big time flare-wise)...
     
  25. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Alexz, to avoid flare, it would be advisable to use an efficient lens shade with any of these 50mm lenses (and with other lenses as well) .
     
  26. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Xmm, this is really interesting..
    I just back from a short strool to our local used photo gear shops checking what can be played with raggefinder-wise, nothing has been found, but to my surprise figured a used (Mint) G1 with 45mm Planar. Had a nice play with one, the camera feels good (albeit quite small viewfinder - a bit unusual one after professional SLR experience and getting used to LF 4x5 GG), but BOY, what a noisy focusing ! Reminded me the days of my Minolta AF experience at the end of 90s, though G1 may be even a bit more noisy..high-pitched noise is very noticeable, to the level approaching to unacceptable after getting used to silent Canon EOS AF.
    The AF of G1 although isn't sluggish at all, but the decision delay is noticeable (from AF engaged to motor starting to work) in patterns on which both Minolta and Canon would focus instantly. What bugged me most is the fact that there is no focusing ring on lenses so that even in manual focusing it is necessary to employ motor so noise is still there...
    I'm willing to believe G2 is considerably better in noise level and AF performance , but no real manual focusing and focusing motor noise that cannot be avoided even in manual focusing doesn't inspire much confidence ...