Voigtländer - opinions?
I have been doing a lot of street shooting and would like to add another camera to my bag. Anyone have an opinion or thoughts about Voightlander in terms of build quality and are you happy with the photographic results?
I know Leica is iconic and the gold standard for RFs, so leaving them out, any other brand I should look at? I am only focused on mechanical cameras - new or used.
I know the choice is personal, but just wanted to get Voightlander users feedback and other options.
edit: I shoot mostly B&W using 28, 50 & 85mm focal lengths and value sharpness and contrast as photographic qualities
Last edited by mhanc; 05-28-2009 at 09:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: additional information
I think the Voigtlander cameras are pretty good. I have seen great work with the. The price is manageable. I am looking into getting one. They sell fully mechanical models and electric models.
Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time
I regularly use a Voigtlander Bessa R3M with CV lenses. I cannot fault either.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
The Cosina Voigtlander (no "h") Bessa is an excellent choice if you want a new rangefinder camera. The cost is much less than a new Leica, and the cameras themselves are very solid.
Cosina has established a decent track record. Its lenses enjoy an excellent reputation.
You'll probably get some suggestions to buy a used Leica (thread mount or M bayonet), but with a used camera comes the uncertainty of whether the camera needs to be serviced before you use it.
Also, the earlier Leica (thread mount or LTM -- Leica Thread Mount) cameras are slightly different in operation: You have to learn how to load the film, and it has separate viewfinders for focusing and composing your image. That said, the build quality is excellent.
You'll also hear stories of people who bought a Leica for $100 or $50, but those are the exceptions and not the rule.
The next question is whether interchangeable lenses is a must.
There also is the new Zeiss Ikon (costs more than the Voigtlander but less than a Leica).
Rangefinder photography is a niche market, so those are your only choices for new cameras.
When it comes to used, that's a different story entirely, and then the offerings open to hundreds of different cameras with the understanding that most should be serviced before you use them.
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Assuming you mean the current/recent Voigtländers bodies built by Cosina, build quality o.k. though not outstanding.
Rangefinder base a bit narrow for very accurate focussing with telephoto and very fast lenses.
Otherwise good users.
Might consider the Zeiss-Ikon, also built by Cosina, but to a higher standard and with a much wider rangefinder base.
If you are willing to sacrifice metering and having to use external finders for lenses other 50mm, you might consider a Soviet rangefinder (many caveats attached and lots to say one way or another - ask again!)
M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa
Leica: M4-P, CL, M8 + 40mm f/2, 50mm f/2 DR, 75mm f/2.5
CV: R3A, R4M, Tx3, L + 15mm f/4.5, 21mm f/4, 28mm f/2, 35mm f/1.2, 35mm f/2.5, 40mm f/1.4[/SIZE]
Im looking at Voigtlander too.. specifically, the R2a, with the 35mm nokton f/1.4.. although, im not closing my doors on a Leica M3.. but, Im a bit concerned with the bottom loading, it may take a while for me to get used to it, and since i go out a lot, i may find myself always looking for a place to sit to cut my films and load it, unlike the Voigtlander which loading is similar to SLR's and a lot easier..
I have never used a Voigtlander however the images I have seen that they have produced are of top quality.
The rangefinder I use is an old Contax IIa with a Sonar 1.5 - Tack sharp and easy to handle, I picked a very nice unit up for around $250.00 - $300.00 US a few years a ago, I think they may be a little higher now days.
Look here: http://www.cameraquest.com/conrf.htm
My opinion is they are a very good alternative to used Leicas, I mostly use an R2 which has a VF very similar in quality to an M6 but is much lighter to carry. The mechanical feel is very different and the Voigt shutter is much noisier, neither of which are factors for me. Frame line selections are not always same as Leica I prefer the 35+90 on the R2 to the M6 arrangement.
Pics here: http://www.pbase.com/mononation/cv
Last edited by DaveOttawa; 05-28-2009 at 10:24 AM. Click to view previous post history.