My New Voigtlander Bessa and Lenses Arrived: Two Beginner Questions

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by andre_noble|5, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Hello,
    I am a total newcomer to rangfinder and have two basic questions regarding my new Bessa R4a and Screw mount Nokton 50 1.5mm installation and viewfinder focusing:
    1) I have first carefully mounted the proper adapter ring. Then screwed my Nokton 50 1.5 as far as it will go. However The white dot on the lens is about 2 or 3 degrees short of reaching vertical with respect to the camera body - it simply won"t turn further. Is this normal? How tight is one supposed to crank a screw mount lens?
    2) This admitedly is a very splitting hairs perfectionism question: - but focusing of same lens, when viewfinder images are aligned horizontally, the image overlap is ever so very slightly off vertically in the viewfinder and I do mean slightly. Is this normal also?
    BTW, I ordered this camera with the 35 Biogon Zeiss F2 also. I am amazed at how tiny that $900 lens is. Also, the build quality of the Voigtlander pieces is higher than I thought they would be. Aside from the quieter shutter of the M Leicas, and near zero distortion of a few Leica and zeiss wide angle lensesI can't see wanting more.
    Thanks in advance for any help answering these two questions.
  2. I've got a Nokton 50 on a Canon 7 and the dot is off-center as you wrote. No problem.
  3. Regarding number two. If I read you correctly, Andre, there seems a slight misalignment of the focusing mechanism. If this is what it is and if even the slight problem bothers you send it back for realignment.
  4. Vertical misalignment is not normal, but it also doesnt affect focusing accuracy.
    If it bothers you, since this is a new camera, just send it back like Alex said.
    A lot of the time, the vertical alignment is fine and it just looks misaligned due to your eye placement.
  5. Well, first big congrats and the new package.
    Next just wanted to say that I also use the 35 zm f/2 and I can't believe how sharp it is for the amount of money. It's perfect for me. I also have the Voiglander 35mm/1.4 it it's pretty dang good for my low light but I'm exploring the 50 1.2 and at approx $800 it seems like a wonderful value.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say good luck.
  6. I lived with vertical misalignment for a while without any problems, except in low-light it can get annoying.
    If you have some tiny screwdrivers, you can fix the vertical misalignment yourself. Here were some instructions on another thread and another DIY how-to on another site.
    I did it once on a Voightlander. The only problem is that the screws are so tiny and sometimes so tight. Don't try to do it without the correct sized philips screwdriver or you could strip the thread. I think it was either a #00 or a #000.
    Unfortunately, it's really much easier to fix on a Leica.
  7. Chris et al, thanks for the input.
    Another annoyong thing I discovered in my new kit is play (looseness) in the barrel in the Nokton 50 F1.5! I bought the 50 Nokton for it's performance and solidity. ANY play in an all metal rangefinder lens is not acceptable at all.
    I don"t know what kind of bad Karma I have built with 50mm lenses. My last 3 all had annoying ooseness or play in the barrel (last twobrand new Nikon SLR 50mm lenses, and now the Voigtlander 50 Nokton F1.5).
    The camera (and possibly lens) is going back to B&H - I called them this morning and got an RMA, and shipping label. B&H always been good about that.
    The only good piece was the 35 Zeiss F2 distagon - and I didn't get a chance to test it's optical qualities. I should probably put a roll of film through the 35Zeiss before I send the body back.
    I'm willing to pay and extra $50 or $100 per item for better quality control.
  8. I don't know that the rangefinder alignment problems are so much quality control, as stability problems of the adjustments when the camera is shipped.
    What type of play was there in the Nokton? If the front of the barrel could just twist rotationally, that's not unusual for rangefinder lenses. It just means that the stabilizing bars that ride in slots through the focusing helical are just a tiny bit smaller than the slots they ride in. That's OK, as rotation of the lens has no optical effect.
    If you can tip the lens barrel up and down, that's not good.
    But so long as the lens remains coaxial with the axis of the lens mount, and the lens moves the same way (in and out) as the focusing cam, the lens will focus accurately. (This only applies to 50mm lenses, where the cam moves the same amount as the glass. On all other focal lengths, they move at different rates.)
  9. Thanks for the input John. It's weird - but things that bother some photgraphers/gun owners don't bother me at all. For example finish. I could give a hoot. If the paint wears off a barrel, or if a stainless steel firearm has scratches from production - it doesn't bother me in the least if the price was right to start with and the paint flecks doesn't work it's way into the assembly.
    But mechanical play annoys and distrcts me.
    You are correct that the play will not have any affect whatsoever on image quality.
    There is a fix for this play in the 50 nokton on the web involving removing the Nameplate - but the writer doesn't explain HOW to remove the nameplate?:
  10. The Nokton is really a awesome lens. Some of my favorite shots were using it.
  11. I've racked my brain at the daunting price of the 50 of my first choice the Leica 50 F2 Summicron with near zero distortion - combined with my true respect for bang for the buck Nokton 50 F1.5 and the excellent reviews Nokton has received, finally combined with my determination to no longer accept any lens that has mechanical play in the barrel and have come up with a solution:
    I am going to return this loose-barreled Nokton 50 1.5 to B&H as "defective" and order another Nokton 50 1.5 from them - and pray the replacement has no play in the barrel.
    I cannot get my head around a lens the size of a golf ball costing $2000 (the current Leica Summicron F2) at my income level.
    But I also cannot pass up a sharp aspheric Leica M screw mount 50mm 1.5 lens that costs "only" $400.
  12. Seems to me the obvious answer might be to spend $500 on a second hand 50mm Summicron...
  13. I think exchanging it is a good idea. I've used my Nokton 50 (bought from KEH as LN-) on both the Canon 7 and Leica IIIf. There is slop on either, except the "dot" is not at the center-top.
  14. I meant that the lens is tight..."there is no slop"
  15. Thanks Don, that's encouraging.
  16. If you can live with f/2, try the Zeiss ZM Planar 50/2. It gives up nothing to a summicron except price. ZM lenses have occasional reported problems with "wobbliness" or play in the focus ring; they are made in the same Cosina factory as the Voigtlander ones. Yet I've had a number of them and have not had this problem. It may mean you just have to look around before buying. I find the silver chrome models have a smoother build quality. Since you've had good success with your Biogon, try a Planar. It's been called "the summicron killer" for a reason.
  17. If you have a chance, see to get a Summicron 50 instead... unless you really like the Nokton. Old 50mm lenses can be
    had for a relatively reasonable amount these days.

    BTW, congratulations on your arrival in the RF world!
  18. Jon, I've researched the Zeiss ZM Planar 50 F2. It didn't seem to have anything about it that set itself above the rest - baised on the reviews that is...
  19. khi


    Hi Andre, i'm jumping in here a little late. i've been using a Bessa R4a for over a year now and it is a great camera body. however, good luck trying to focus that 50/1.5 nokton. the baseline of the R4a is very short and you will not like the results with that 50/1.5 at all. i have one myself and it has been one of my favorite lenses-but i am unable to use it on the R4a. you will find you're much better off with 21, 28, and 35mm without a doubt. i would return the 50 nokton if i was you. in case you think it's just me saying this look here: check Tony Polson's response.
  20. Keith, I did return the Nokton. I have no imediate plans for a 50. I think the Zeiss 21 f4.5 (ZERO distortion) is on my to-do list, than after that, maybe a 90 ASPH APO Cron.
    I'm going to try to ger as much use out of the R4a and 35 as possible before I buy a second lens for it.

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