how to read framelines Bessa R3a

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by bessa_L_R3a, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    Hi,

    Just wondering if anyone knows which lines I´m supposed to frame "within" on my Bessa R3a ...

    There is a small rectangle in the center used for adjusting the focus. Then there is a larger rectangle outside that, that takes up maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of the viewfinder, and then there are some outer frame lines.

    Am I supposed to frame within those outer lines? I´m using a 40mm with camera set to same.

    Thanks,

    R.
     
  2. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    With the camera set as you describe, the outermost framelines are the 40mm framelines, the inner framelines are what you would use to compose for a 90mm lens. That is why it says 90 below the 40 on the frameline switch. Hope that helps.
     
  3. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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  4. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    That´s actually what I thought but I wasn´t sure. Thanks for clarifying.
     
  5. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    While I´m on the topic, what exactly is happening when that wheel in the camera body gets pushed in or out?

    Are the framelines mentioned in my original post being projected from the lens or are they embedded in the viewfinder and merely shift according to the wheel depression/lens type?
     
  6. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    That wheel is the follower for the focus cam on the lenses. As you focus the lens, the cam drives that wheel in and out of the camera body, driving the central rangefinder patch and also driving the framelines diagonally from upper left to lower right in the viewfinder. That action keeps the framelines corrected for the difference between the point of view of the finder and that of the lens. This is called parallax correction.

    The finder frames are superimposed in the viewfinder with mirrors. They are located behind the frosted white corrugated plastic above the camera lens. Put your finger over that lens and the framelines will darken. Shine a red LED in that window and the framelines will glow red. (That's actually a good trick for seeing your framelines in the dark, although the Bessa R3A doesn't really need help in that regard.)

    BTW, the Bessa R3A has 1:1 finder magnification. Practice shooting with both eyes open (if you're right eyed) and watch the frame lines float in space in front of you with a relatively unrestricted view.

    Lee
     
  7. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    Ok, so focusing drives the focus patch alignment, obviously, but focusing itself results in the diagonal shift of the framelines? I´ve never seen my framelines shift as I focus. I´m not understanding that part. I know that pushing the wheel does that, but I didn´t realize that focusing the lens pushes on the wheel? What I understand is that depending on the lens type, the wheel is pushed to a certain depth in a one time movement.
     
  8. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Try it. For a more dramatic demonstration, take the lens off and move the roller in and out quickly with a finger. Watch the frame lines shift. Use the rangefinder patch as a reference point.

    Focus a lens off the camera and watch the focusing cam drive back and forth at the top of the lens where it's in contact with the roller in the body.

    There is a part of the lens that will mechanically select the proper framelines on a camera body that has that feature, but the Bessas have manual frameline selection with a switch on the top of the camera, part of keeping the cost down and the photographer's mind on the work.

    Lee
     
  9. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    ok, I will play around with it and report back at some point. Thanks for the explanations.
     
  10. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    You're welcome. Have fun with the R3A. It's one of my favorite cameras.

    Lee
     
  11. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    you're right! I'm sorry, I hadn't noticed before. The framelines DO move when I focus ... But why? What does focus have to do with composition? I guess that's the parallax correction you were referring to.

    Now, on a separate note, since what I see in the framelines is not precisely what I will get on the film exposure, does this mean I have to compensate slightly but composing and then moving the camera slightly to left? Or is the differential minimal?
     
  12. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    The framelines moving is already doing that 'compensation' for you.
     
  13. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    I see ...

    Once again, thought I wouldn't have anything more to add to this thread, but I've been reading about some models having "misaligned" framelines ...

    I'm so new to this I probably wouldn't know if mine were misaligned.

    Does this mean that when you focus, the two images in the center patch never really align perfectly with each other and therefore you can't get super sharp focus?
     
  14. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    I don’t think that misaligned framelines will influence your ability to focus your camera. It will, however, have serious bearing on what part of a scene actually ends up on your negative.

    You can check if you have any misalignment quite easily. Take a photo of a two dimensional scene, for instance a wall. Make a small drawing of what you see in the viewfinder and compare the results.

    You have to compare details that are on the plane of focus. There will be some discrepancies between what you see in the viewfinder and what will end up on the negative when photographing a three dimensional scene because the framelines can only compensate the parallax on the plane of focus.
     
  15. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    Ok, so there's no way to know if it's misaligned until I do the test.

    I DO notice that when I'm focusing on a small object a few meters away in the focus patch, when it's supposedly fully aligned, it doesn't look as crisp as when I do it with a vertical line like a wall edge or signpost.
     
  16. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I believe there's some confusion in this thread between viewfinder frames and the rangefinder patch. In generally accepted parlance, the finder frames outline the perimeter of the picture area and rangefinder patch is the central focusing area. Nearly every mention of misalignment that I've seen with regard to the C/V Bessa rangefinder cameras refers to the rangefinder, usually with a little vertical offset between the images. Focusing on vertical lines can overcome this vertical offset and work well if the rangefinder is correctly set for the left-right alignment.

    The best way to test rangefinder focusing accuracy is with something like a ruler set at 45 degrees to the lens axis. Focus on a certain line at wide apertures and see how close you come. Test at close and medium distances and look at the negatives or slides with some good magnification.

    Finding a contrasty target to focus on usually helps with a rangefinder.

    Lee
     
  17. DaveOttawa

    DaveOttawa Subscriber

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    Just go shoot already! Seriously, don't worry too much about framing accuracy, you'll find it works better than you expect. You will always get more on the negative than the frame lines so shoot using them and yo may soemtimes need to crop slightly when printing. It really works.
     
  18. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    I know, I was waiting for someone to yell at me ... I'm trying to get out there but this will be my first weekend with the camera and weekdays I can't bring cameras to work because I work, of all places, in a courthouse, where they are strictly prohibited. Stupid, absurd rule considering they allow camera phones in the building, precisely the kind of gadget you'd need to take pics on the sly.

    OK, so I'll report back soon.

    ~R.