RF for 21mm

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Diapositivo, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I'm considering buying a 2nd-hand RF to keep in my bag with a 21mm. Its main use would be to have a 21mm focal length readily available without changing lens. In the long run the purchase of an 18mm will be taken into consideration as well.

    I'm considering mainly those two hypothesis:

    -) Contax G2 and Zeiss 21.
    Not too expensive. Exceptional quality of the G-series Zeiss 21. Not very "fast" but that would not be a big problem. The problem with the G2 is how repairable it is in the long run. The small viewfinder is also a shortcoming.

    -) Leica CL with some 21 M-mount.
    Leica CL seem to be reasonably priced and not to suffer the Leica price-tag syndrome. I read the rangefinder can become desilvered, and the cloth shutter can be damaged by the sun if the camera is left in the sun without lens cap (that's common to other Leica I suppose).
    The main problem I have with this camera is that some lenses with protruding back elements cannot be mounted.
    Is there anywhere a definitive list of which lenses can be mounted on a CL and which cannot?

    Thanks
    Fabrizio
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    What about a Bessa R4M (mechanical) or R4A (electronic, with aperture priority mode and AE lock)?
     
  3. segedi

    segedi Member

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    I agree with the voigtlander R4a/m solution. I have an r4a and although I'm trying to sell it as I found 21mm to be too wide for my tastes, the built in 21mm framelines are great. Also has 25,28,35 and 50 framelines. It's a very nice camera and I found the ae to be reliable as well. It's also smaller and lighter than a leica and I like the feel of the grip as well. Viewfinder is nice too. Maybe I should just keep it and get a 25 or 28 afterall!

    For lenses, I had and sold a zeiss 2.8. It was nice, but a bit longer and heavier than I wanted. If I end up keeping the r4a I might snag a voigtlander 21mm f4 - it has 85% of the image quality at 1/3 the price. I tend to like 35mm at the widest, but for less of the price of the a zeiss lens you could have a bessa r4 and 21mm vm! Could also probably mount an 18mm and just use the entire viewfinder as well for framing.
     
  4. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Doh, I totally ignored the existence of the R4A and R4M, thanks for the suggestion! If I can find an used one at a good price, that's probably the ideal camera for me. The CV 21/4 evidently fits the camera without any damage.

    I have to ponder whether the wide-angle viewfinder of the R4 really is an advantage, considering that with a 21mm the focusing would be quite accurate even without range-finder assistance (so the external viewfinder would not really slow operations).

    On the other hand, I don't think I would be using the RF with focal length greater than 50mm (actually probably I'm not going to use it with anything longer than 21mm) so the R4 is the natural match for my needs.

    I've seen locally a Leica CL for around €130 that has a broken lightmeter but is supposed to work well otherwise. That's an interesting price and that's the reason for my question about compatibility of the CL with some 21mm in M-mount around. I don't want to buy a CL and find that any 21mm I mount on it will break the shutter.

    The CL has the same narrow RF base so it's not very useful above 50mm (unless one stops down, or focuses far away) and it needs an external viewfinder, but it's more silent and probably cheaper second hand.

    Fabrizio
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You forget the Bessa-L. No rangefinder, but would you need one with a 21mm? I have one, for 15-21mm There's always something very very wide on it.
     
  6. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I have some reservation on the build quality of the early production Cosina - Voigtlaender.

    The Leica CL at €130 (without lens) is tempting but I fear surprises. I also read that spare parts for CLs are hard to find and this is a long-term problem maybe, and an immediate problem if the camera has got something wrong. Besides, I have no lens to try it with.

    I placed a bid on a Leica 3M with a 5cm which I know will be overbid in a few minutes.

    Maybe my best option is to wait for a second-hand Minolta CLE.

    I've found a list of lenses that do not fit on certain CV:

    http://www.cameraquest.com/VCBT.htm

    (the list refers to the Bessa-T but I do suppose that the other Bessa models are quite similar).

    Thanks
    Fabrizio
     
  7. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    I use a Leica IIIf RD with the Voigtlander Color-Skopar 21mm f/4 lens. The 21mm stays on it most of the time. It's RF coupled and uses 39mm filters. At $400 new it's a best buy in the RF world. With an M adapter it will go on any M body.

    You will need a 21mm finder (when I bought mine 6 years ago it came with the plastic 21mm CV finder which is very good).

    http://www.cameraquest.com/voigtlen.htm
     
  8. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    It seems that the CV 21mm f/4 is compatible with anything Leica M or LTM, and it is exactly the lens that I am going to buy the camera for. I've placed a small bid on a Leica IIIf and probably I will wait for a bargain second-hand something, between: Minolta CLE, Leica CL, IIIf, CV R3a/m, R4a/m, Konica Hexar.

    Must be ugly aesthetically and totally uninteresting for collectors but revised and guaranteed to be problem-free. I'll need some patience, I guess.

    Fabrizio
     
  9. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    If you ever find a CV 21/4 in SC mount (I did, 250$ !) you can put it on a Kiev or a Contax.
     
  10. jacarape

    jacarape Member

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    I've used a G2 with a 21/2.8 extensively. That camera has advantages that the Bessa can't touch. I've had a Canonet, a Bessa in C mount with the original 21/4, a Contax IIIa Color Dial and currently us a Leica MP. For a RF camera with a 21, it was the best.

    No, you'll never put a 18mm lens on it, if you seriously want to go to that FL, a ZI may be the ticket but you'll lose auto loading, auto advance, auto focus, very fast metering, exceptional low light auto, decent flash close up. If you want an affordable Hologon (16mm), again your only option is the G2. Can you say 16mm without distortion? Spell it Hologon.

    ToCad provides factory service for a few more years, if they can't fix it, it goes back to Japan. They sent my Contax 645 APO Makro back, it was returned form Japan Inc. perfect.

    Michael Ging is a photographer for Arizona Highways. He has also used this camera extensively. He can be found on Photo.net, check out his portfolio as it has a lot of shots with a G2/21 combo. He's a great guy and a very nice person. And a very very good photographer.

    Whatever you choose, it won't be your last...

    Best-
     
  11. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Any reason you can't use an old Russian LTM?
     
  12. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Though "advantages" are truely in the eye of the beholder...

    For some RF users, including myself, those go against the entire RF workflow.
    :pouty:
     
  13. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    That's the combination I use sometimes. Works great - no need to focus.
     
  14. Diapositivo

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    The G2 is always in the back of my mind. Wonderful lenses and relatively cheap to have. I'm afraid most of the use of 21mm is insides of churches, the G2 is noisier than a manual focus camera and I suspect that would be a "problem". It's also the kind of camera that is not going to last for the next 20 years or so, and when it breaks, my investment in lenses will be in danger. I'm especially concerned about the many motors inside it: a motor for focusing, a motor for moving the viewfinder (zoom and parallax correction), a motor for film winding. Electronics inside a camera can last for many decades without any problem, but I suspect motors are not that long lived.

    A LTM or M-mount investment is something I would do with less worries. But I do go on checking auctions for G2s.
     
  15. elekm

    elekm Member

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    If you really want to do this on the cheap and have a carry-around camera, look at the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim. The 22mm lens is quite good, although you're limited to one shutter speed. Works best with 400 speed film.

    If you just want a superwide lens, this is the one to get. Slips into a pocket and costs less than $10.
     
  16. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I have also looked at some Zorki. Most of them are outside the EU and I would like to avoid all the custom office procedures, so I tend to buy only in the EU. I would certainly buy a Zorki if the camera is somehow tested. It's one of the many options. I would be using it mostly with an external viewfinder so a replica of the Leica III series would be adequate, but it must be cheap. Russian cameras are not renown for quality controls and uniformity of production, I fear buying a "lemon" so I can buy something with CLA by some reputable seller, or something that must be cheap enough to run the risk. Also they are very old cameras now and although I can trust an old Leica I don't know how much I can trust a 60 years old Zorki or similar.

    The Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim it's not an option I would consider as I need professional quality (quality good enough for stock photo agencies).

    EDIT: I've written an email to a Roman repairer requesting his opinion on the future serviceability and availability of spare parts of Contax G2 cameras, I hope he'll be kind enough to answer, in case I'll let you know.
     
  17. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    The repairer answered my question but in very generic terms: Contax is out of business now (I knew that), so there is not guarantee (I imagined that a long ago), but generally speaking G2 are cameras known for not giving problems.

    The answers I expected were of the kind: yes we can open, clean, lubricate and up to a certain extent repair a Contax G2. We have a number of G1/G2 bodies to cannibalise in case of need. We can even reconstruct broker motors ourselves;

    Or

    No we don't service Contax G2 because they are too difficult to find spare parts for..

    Or something like that.

    Fabrizio
     
  18. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I'm glad I won this auction yesterday:

    http://cgi.ebay.it/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260772232814

    That's less than €300 for 15mm lens, viewfinder, camera and never-ready case. With a lens cap and a Nikon strap.

    I was checking yesterday that my Yashica T3 (1989) still works perfectly and so probably motor fragility is not something to be too worried about. But then I won the auction so that means in this life I will never buy a Contax G2, I suppose.

    Fabrizio