Help Choosing Between R3M and R3A

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by photobal, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. Hello rangefinder types,
    Well, I've decided to get a Bessa but can't makeup my mind between the manual R3M or the aperture priority R3A. I like the 1:1 finder and will be ordering the 40mm f/1.4 to go along with the camera.
    A little background:
    I have a Yashica Electro which I enjoy using but want to stop dipping my toe and take the plunge into rangerfinder land.
    Currently I shoot with Nikon gear (D3, D200, F3 and FM2, F80). In the past I shot entirely in manual mode so the R3M fits with that but since going digital it is 90% aperture priority and 10% manual mode. I think I might miss being able to set the f-stop I want and letting the camera do the shutter speed steplessly.
    The reason I am leaning towards the R3M is that I figure that long term the mechanical camera would be more durable and easier to repair then an electronic one.
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. I was thinking of adding an R3 or 4 to my Leica system. I felt like the R3A would serve me best because I could use it in either auto or manual. The only reason I didn't buy one is the reports of the winding mechanism not working. Go to YouTube and search for videos on the subject. There are one or two (at least) that demonstrate the problem.
     
  3. It all comes down to if you want Automatic metering or not - simple decision in my mind - why wouldn't you? I have a R2A and love it.
     
  4. I might expect an electronically controlled shutter to be more durable and more accurate than a mechanlcally timed one.
    The biggest downside of the R3A is battery dependence. But the batteries are so small, and have tremendous shelf-life.
     
  5. I'm also thinking to buy a Voigtlander Bessa R3A, and I saw the YouTube videos,it looks like there is a manufacturer issue with that.
    I'm new to 35mm rangefinder cameras and excuse me for the dumb question: Does the Voigtlander have a thread on the bottom plate to screw to a tripod or not? I suspect,since is a camera aimed more to street photography that it might not have it.
    Thanks in advance for your reply.
    RA
     
  6. Yes there is a standard tripod thread on the R3a/m. You can also mount a Bessa T-winder (speedy film advance) to the R3a/m, and contrary to YouTube, I have not had film advance issues with my R3a with or without the added T-winder. I normally mount a 40mm f/2 Rokkor and really like the lens/finder combination of the R3. It also works great with the 90,75,50 frame lines too.
     
  7. Thank you Jeff. Glad to know that I can take some portraits pictures in a tripod mounted Bessa R3A, they will be tack sharp, in between the tripod use, the quiet shutter release w/o the noise and vibration of the mirror of an SLR and the quality of CV lenses, it all add up.
    I really don't like the t winder, for me is aesthetically unpleasant, yes, I recognize its advantages, I saw a video on YouTube also about the use of this winder and it really works quick, but to me,frankly if I take a few seconds to compose,meter,choose the right combination of shutter speed and aperture and focus, a few seconds more cranking the advancing level is not harm.
    I also like the Bessa R4A for wide angle lenses,the money you spend in viewfinders for those lenses justify the purchase of the camera. It does not have a 1:1 viefinder,actually I think it is 1:0.50 or so, but is a trade off.
     
  8. Went through the same process one year ago and went with the R3M with the 40mm 1.4 Nokton Classic. I love it and love not having to worry about the batteries going dead. I have been very happy with the camera the meter is easy to use and I love the view finder. I like the fact of knowing the camera will always fire even with dead batteries. I will say this if you get the R3A and always have spare batteries the camera will last a very long time, they are built well, failure is going to come a long ways down the road.
     
  9. Went through the same process one year ago and went with the R3M with the 40mm 1.4 Nokton Classic. I love it and love not having to worry about the batteries going dead. I have been very happy with the camera the meter is easy to use and I love the view finder. I like the fact of knowing the camera will always fire even with dead batteries. I will say this if you get the R3A and always have spare batteries the camera will last a very long time, they are built well, failure is going to come a long ways down the road.
     
  10. Went through the same process one year ago and went with the R3M with the 40mm 1.4 Nokton Classic. I love it and love not having to worry about the batteries going dead. I have been very happy with the camera the meter is easy to use and I love the view finder. I like the fact of knowing the camera will always fire even with dead batteries. I will say this if you get the R3A and always have spare batteries the camera will last a very long time, they are built well, failure is going to come a long ways down the road.
     
  11. I have seen some of those youtube videos and they are unsettling. I have to wonder though what percentage of failures these few videos represent. I don’t think the owners of non-failing cameras would be posting videos.

    I’m still a bit undecided but will most likely go for the R3M. Or maybe the R3A…..
     
  12. Good point Bal.I wonder too now the same.
    RA
     
  13. I have the R3a and 90% of the time, if I'm outdoors, I can't see the shutter speeds anyway because they flare out. You might want to consider this. I haven't lost many shots due to this, but a few. Most times I really would like to know what the shutter speeds are.
     
  14. Steve, I've heard of this complaint; someone suggested covering part of the (front of the) viewfinder with a finger momentarily to shade the lower part so you can see the meter reading.
    I'm still undecided so this week I loaded up a roll of Tmax100 into my FM2 and threw on a 35mmF2 lens. Lets see how I like to shoot manual again. If I like it, then I'll get the R3M. If I find myself missing the AE then I'll get the R3A.
     
  15. I have owned both the R3A and R3M. The exposure readings in the VF of the R3M sold me on this workhorse. So I stayed with the R3M. Battery issue is silly. I love the full control of manual exposure.
     
  16. i have an R2 and enjoy the camera very thoroughly but am impressed with the additions the newer models bring.
    i wanted to post here to clear up some overly simplistic statements about the a or m question.
    electronic shutters are certainly not more durable than mechanical ones. mechanical shutters have been creating images for over a hundred years and are plenty rugged and a thousand tymes more repairable than electronic shutters.
    electronic shutters are usually stepless though. meaning that if proper exposure is in less than a stop, the shutter will give you that exact speed such as 1/100th whereas mechanical shutters only work by full stops. this shouldn't bother anyone with print film but might be an issue for slide film shooters or those who are just looking to stop down on the lens that little bit more.
    while i usually pair my camera systems up with both one fully manual and one auto/manual shutter, i think the fully manual is my first choice. cheaper, more durable and keeps me on my feet!
    i also happen to think cosina's electronics are not the hottest thing and don't regard them with much trust.
     
  17. Had the Leica R4. Electronics failed. Could not be repaired, despite 4 attempts. Many photo shoots failed. Shutter wouldnt trip. Then.. got the lightweight Contax NX. Electric film winder mechanism failed after 20 rolls. Vietnam trip messed up. That had the 70-200 Zeiss on. No spares. Guess thats why I am for the R3M, even if I have spare batteries, and even if it has the AE fine auto-speed selections. I simply dont trust electrix/electronics in cameras as they surely get knocked accidenrtally or exposed to hot/cold/dust etc. Having said, that my trusty old, battered Nikon F80, with its 90mm Tamron macro+81A warming filter, (see Ken Rockwell.filters), and Velvia 50 are weaving magic.
     

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