Better than a Leica (or a Zeiss Ikon)?
I have the R3A and the all manual R3M both with the Nokton 40mm 1.4. I also have a Zeiss Ikon with Sonnar 50mm 1.5. And a Leica MP (current model not the rare collectible) with Summarit and Summilux 50mm 2.5 and 1.4 respectively. Okay, the Leica is self explanatory and the Zeiss also an excellent camera for a lot less. But the Voigtlanders with their 40mm Noktons are by far the most pleasant cameras I have ever owned. I've heard a lot of "what you paid is what you got" as they were by far the cheapest of the three and all the negative comments from other RF fans about my cheapo Cosina in Voigtlander cover. My response, go right ahead and get that R3A or M with the Nokton. I have never owned such a fun to use camera of the dozen or so I have owned over the last 30 years. The 1:1 viewfinder will give you a while new outlook in your composition. 1:1 means you are composing in "real time" for lack of better word. You are looking at the same ratio your eyes are. You'd think Leica would have thought of that but neither Leica nor Zeiss offer 1:1 finders, at least not in an over the counter version. Composition is quick and accurate as you can view your scene through the finder at real life proportions. I think I get better photos with this. 40mm is also about what your eyes take in in one glance. This is "realism" in photography. Truer than an SLR finder. The Nokton 40mm 1.4 is also sharp with a very classic smoothness to the resulting images, though under a 10x loupe the Leica lenses are sharper and the Nokton does vignette too much for my taste at wide open through f 2.8. The camera itself is reasonably well built and definitely not the piece of junk I have heard it referred as just because it doesn't say Leica on it. The film wind mechanism is certainly precision made as the spacing between frames is perfectly consistent. The roll comes out of the developing tank and you can't help but notice at a glance how even the spaces are without even really looking. The shutter release has a more positive action than the Leica's somewhat mushy one. It "snaps" with more authority albeit with more
noise. I can't see what not to like about this camera and lens. Which camera of these three do I go for first? The Voigtlander! I forget it doesn't say "Leica" on it as soon as I bring the first exposure into position.