Newer/Current RF Cameras?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by mtbbrian, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. mtbbrian

    mtbbrian Member

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    I am seriously considering a RF, but outside of Contax and Leica I don't know of any other newer bodies.
    So what's a newer RF?
    My top choice as of now is the Contax G2.
    The most important thing is TTL and I would like a camera that is no more than 10 years old.
    Brian
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    If you are considering the G2 then I guess you want AF, is that so?

    If not necessarily, then check out the Zeiss Ikon, that is a very nice piece. About $1500. As I recall the ZI is a high end product from the same company that makes the bessas, which are nothing to sneeze at. The bessa r3a in particular is very interesting if you want a 1:1 viewfinder.

    I ditched most of my 35mm equipment and went to a mamiya 6, that is my current favourite RF. I love square format.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    The Cosina-Voigtländer cameras are nice too - I have a Bessa-L (no rangefinder) and a Bessa-T (rangefinder). Neither of the two have an incorporated viewfinder, so a separate finder is necessary. These come with the very- to ultra-wide CV lenses, and I've got a Russian revolver finder for the longer focal lengths.
     
  4. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The Bessa R series do have viewfinders, very nice ones. All models have through the lens metering and some have aperture priority automation. This is a really good time to be shopping for a rangefinder.
     
  5. Edwardv

    Edwardv Member

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    My favorite rangefinder is a Plaubel Makina 6x7. Very simple to use. Should you find one send it to Nippon Photo Clinic, 920 Broadway #705, NYC, NY 10010. for a thorough cleaning and repairs if need. I had to replace the advance, focusing and was cleaned fully for $745. Believe me it was worth it. Will last another 25 years; by then there will be no one left to repair it.

    Nippon: 212 982 3177.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    The Konica Hexar RF is a capable well made viewfinder/rangefinder camera.
     
  7. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    The Mamiya 7 II, which is medium format. Very nice lenses, with some available used at reasonable prices. There is also a kit to allow using 35mm film in the camer, with the result being long panorama type shots (like a Hasselblad XPan). Normal shots are 6x7, with 10 shots per 120 roll film, and 20 shots for 220 roll film. It is definitely larger and heavier than any 35mm rangefinder camera, though not bad at all for hand held usage.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
  8. Biogon Bill

    Biogon Bill Member

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    If you are looking for TTL metering, all modern rangefinder cameras have that. But if you are looking for TTL flash, only the Leica M7 offers it among RF cameras in current production. The only other RFs that offered it were the Contax G/2 & the Leica M6 TTL, neither of which are in current production although the Contax G2 can still be purchased new & service is now provided by ToCad. If you hunt, you may be able to find a new M6 TTL, but if you can't, there are plenty on the used market.

    Besides Leica, which currently offers both the M7 with AE and the all mechanical MP - both with 3 choices of magnification, there are two other rangefinders currently in production, both of which use M-mount & can therefore use not only their own lenses but also each others' & Leica's.

    The more recent is the Zeiss Ikon, which became available for sale a year ago. It is a Leica style camera with a long base rangefinder & with aperture priority autoexposure, designed by the Zeiss optics company & contracted for manufacture under Zeiss supervision & quality control to Cosina. It is warranteed & distributed by Zeiss except in Japan. It is accompanied by its own set of lenses & auxiliary viewfinders. You can find more information about it at www.zeissikon.com, at www.zeiss.de & at www.elekm.net/zeiss_ikon/. The best prices in the USA are at www.popflash.com where it sells for about $1250.

    The other is the Bessa series of rangefinder cameras, also manufactured by Cosina but under their own Voigtlander label and with their own distribution & warranty. First introduced in 1999, the Bessa series today offers 3 variations each with a mechanical version & an AE version. The Bessas have a shorter base rangefinder than the Zeiss Ikon and the Leica M7 or MP. The R2 has standard magnification, the R3 high magnification for longer lenses, & the R4, newly announced for April, lower magnification for wide angle lenses. The Voigtlander Bessas are accompanied by a full line of lenses & other accessories. You can find more information at www.cameraquest.com, a USA distributor. You will also find the best prices there as well as at www.photovillage.com, also a USA distributor. They sell for about $550.

    No longer in production but still available new is the Rollei 35 RF, designed & manufactured for Rollei by Cosina starting in 2003, & accompanied by two classic Rollei lenses. It is an M-mount clone of the Bessa R2 but with 40/50/80 frame lines rather than the 35/50/75/90 frame lines of the R2. For fans of 40 mm lenses it offers a viewfinder with standard magnification, making the frame lines easier to see than on the high magnification Bessa R3, the only Bessa camera to use 40 frame lines. It is available at www.bhphotovideo.com for about $550.

    The other modern rangefinder built within the last 10 years is the Konica Hexar RF, introduced in 1999. It is a Leica style long base rangefinder. It was only built in a low magnification version. It has AE & is the only manual focus rangefinder camera with motorized auto rewind. It comes with its own M-mount lenses. The Hexar RF is an excellent camera, but because Konica discontinued camera production after it merged with Minolta, there have been reports that it is a problem to obtain parts, so service may be a problem. If you want to inquire about the current status of service issues & parts availability, contact Greg Weber (www.webercamera.com), who is the top service/repair tech in USA for this camera. It is available new at www.photostop.net for $1999 in kit form with 50/2 lens, flash, & case & is occasionally available used. Konica also made a fixed lens Hexar AF, which is very highly regarded & is also available at Photostop for $950 new.

    Best of luck with your search.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2006
  9. mtbbrian

    mtbbrian Member

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    Bill,
    Thanks for your very detailed reply.
    Form this and the other research I have done, I am now thinking of the Bessa R3A.
    Brian
     
  10. matti

    matti Member

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    I had a Bessa R2 and really liked it, until it was crushed under a tree. The insurance company gave me money to buy a second hand Leica M6, and even though I like it better in most ways, I still miss the Bessa sometimes. After getting about 200 kg of tree on it the shell of the body was actually unharmed, unfortunately the lens was pushed inside the body though. Only thing I didn't like about it was that you cut the film at the holes when cutting between the frames. Difficult to describe and of cource not important at all. Funny though, I wonder why it worked like that.

    I would buy an R2M if I bought a new one. But I like mechanical.

    /matti
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Brian,

    Judging by your website and previous postings, I think you might find the R3A right up your alley. Whenever I'm shooting 40mm or longer and moving targets, it's always the body I go to. The 1:1 finder allows you to keep both eyes open, so you see the bright frame floating in your full field of vision and you're not separated from the action by the camera. I'd probably even go with the R3A for 35mm lenses and estimate (if I had a 35mm). The effective rf baseline is also a little longer than the wider Bessa finders.

    I'd like an R3M for my style of shooting (weren't out when I bought), but I'd guess from your work that you might prefer the R3A for the autoexposure capacity. Look carefully at the cameraquest site for the R2M and R3M front shutter curtains and you'll also see a somewhat more centerweighted metering pattern than on the R2A and R3A models.

    My R3A took a hit from a hard soccer shot only a couple of meters away from the foot that kicked it, glancing off the lens and the corner of the body. I was able to remove the hot shoe cover and reset the resulting slightly misaligned vertical RF alignment without a trip the the repair shop. It's not built like a Leica, but it's not a wimp.

    Lee
     
  12. mtbbrian

    mtbbrian Member

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    Lee,
    Thanks for your comments.
    My photography is evolving some, so I am getting away from the mountain bike stuff so speed isn't as much of a concern.
    I appreciate you looking at my site for your thoughts.
    I really like the R3A from what I have seen.
    Brian
     
  13. Biogon Bill

    Biogon Bill Member

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    You're very welcome, Brian.

    If you are not able to handle an R3A before you purchase, you would be well advised to buy from a dealer who will take returns no questions asked. The 1:1 finder is great, but many people have problems seeing the 40 frame lines - especially people with glasses but not them exclusively. I'm one of those people. I'm not advising against it, but just that you should make sure you're comfortable with it one way or another before you're locked into the purchase. There are certainly users who love this camera - & there are many good reasons to do so.

    Enjoy your new camera! :smile:
     
  14. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    I'm also now on my way of getting rid of my Canon SLR system and heading towards an RF. Was considering Contax G2, however an AF on the rangefinder sound a bit weird to be, chances I'll prefer split-image RF focusing given a good bright viewfinder is available.
    I just came to thought about Voightlander R2A or R3A, however I'm completely new to this brand.
    What about the lenses ? I'd like to have a triple set: 28mm, 40-50mm and 90-100mm. Leica M lenses are out of question, so I'm left with Voightlander own lenses. How are they in optical quality ? Are they far behind Zeiss Contax G lenses in optical value ? What lenses from this line are recommended ?
    I figure I can put up a full Contax G2 set of body and three Zeiss Contax lenses (all used in nearly mint condition) for around 1.2k$. How it fairs aainst similar Voightlander R2/3A setup ?

    Thanks, Aled
     
  15. mtbbrian

    mtbbrian Member

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    Aled,
    Check www.cameraquest.com for info on the R3A, as you can tell you and I are at the same cross road. I think the Voightlander optics will hold their own. I think price wise, the Besa R3A, new I might add, is about the same as what I have seen the G2 going for on EBAY.
    Brian
    Brian
     
  16. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    Thanks Brian, I checked already their site.
    More or less understood about the camera, however have not a clue about their lenses. I know many consider this brand for body to put their Leica lenses on, but this is unlikely to be my case, going with Voightlander I'll have to use their own lenses. However so far I have no idea how good can be Voightlander optics, can it be comparable to Contax Zeiss glass quality-wise ?
     
  17. mtbbrian

    mtbbrian Member

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    Aled,
    I with you there, but from what I can tell they seem to be good lens.
    For what it is worth if I get a Bessa, I will get the V-Lander lens.
    I will be liquidating my Nikon F100 outfit do this.
    Brian
     
  18. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have a Contax G-2 system with several lenses ranging from 21mm through 90mm.

    I also have a Cosina Voigtlander R3A (and a R3M) and several C/V lenses, including the 21mm f4 Color Skopar, the 28mm f2.8 Color Skopar, the f2.0 collapsible Heliar and the 90mm Apo Lanthar.
    My C/V lenses perform very well indeed and compare very favorably with my Japanese made Carl Zeiss G-2 lenses
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2006
  19. Biogon Bill

    Biogon Bill Member

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    You will not be able to put together a Voigtlander kit for the price of the Contax G kit. Furthermore you will not be able to get lenses with the same maximum apertures as the Contax G lenses. Cosina does not make a Voigtlander telephoto lens as fast as the f/2.8 Sonnar 90 & compared with the Contax G 28/2.8 you'll have to choose between faster (f/1.9), bigger, & pricier or slower (f/3.5). There is a 50/2, but it's a limited edition & very expensive ($549). There are 2 other 50s (f/1.5 & f/2.5) at more modest prices but the f/1.5 is big & the more expensive of the two. There is also a 40/1.4, which is very compact. Keep in mind that most of the Voigtlander lenses are screw mount & require the purchase of a $60 adaptor for each in order to to be used on the R2 or R3 - except for the 40/1.4.

    The Voigtlander lenses are very good, but the Contax G lenses are superb & at today's discounted prices, they're a real bargain.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2006
  20. Biogon Bill

    Biogon Bill Member

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    Tom, I assume yuou mean the 28, f/3.5 Color-Skopar?
     
  21. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yep! - Whoops!
     
  22. sbelyaev

    sbelyaev Member

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    Get G2, it is really good. For about $1000 you will get an excellent body and the best AF lenses in the world.
     
  23. Biogon Bill

    Biogon Bill Member

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    I thought so. . . Very nice little lens.