Rangefinder mis-alignment Hexar RF? Anybody?!

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by keenevision, Jan 15, 2003.

  1. I posted this in the 'General' forum- it was recomended to me that I post it here

    I have a Konica Hexar RF that I've been having a &^%$#@!! of a time with!
    When I first received it (bought it used) the rangefinder (vertical alignment)
    was off. So I sent it in to Konica, NJ and had it CLA'd and aligned- no problem.
    In October while photographing a wedding, I dropped the camera about 3.5
    feet onto a grassy surface- that knocked the rangefinder (vertical alignment)
    out again- I sent it in to Konica. It was returned about 3 weeks later, seemingly
    fine. I pulled it out of my bag a week later to use at a Christening- when I
    raised it to my eye-bam- out of vertical alignment!! Mind you, I use this usually
    with 3200 speed film and a Leica 35/1.4 and Canon 50/1.4- usually wide
    open in existing light- focus is CRITICAL! So, I send it in again. 3 weeks later it
    is returned and BOOM right OUT OF THE BOX IT IS OUT OF VERTICAL
    ALIGNMENT AGAIN!!! I called Konica service- got the name of one of the
    engineers, talked to him- he said there is no ongoing problem with these
    rangefinders. So in she goes again- and, yes, thistime it comes back- seems
    fine. I shoot one roll of film around the house of my kids- I just picked up the
    camera and now the vertical alignment is off!!!!!!

    Anyone else having this kind of nightmare with this??!!?? I sold my Leica M6/
    M2 and kept this for the features... wondering if I should've kept the 'pain-in-
    the-arse' film loading/slow flash sync/no AE lock... at least my leica never
    seemed to go out of alignment- even with a couple of good "thumps"!!!
  2. If you search the archives for Hexar, you will find lots of posts about the alignment problems. I was considering getting a Hexar until I had read about the problems. I am hoping that Konica would have fixed this by now--anyone get a recently made one?

    Also, is there any speculation whether the Hexar will remain in production after the Konica-Minolta merger is complete, and if Minolta (they are taking over the camera end of things, post-merger)
    would improve the QC on the Hexar?
  3. Horizontal (infinity) alignment of the RF is a simple DIY. Unforrtunately the vertical is not. The big difference between the RF and Leica in that regard is that there is a solid "floor" in the Leica under the rangefinder, and the follower arm runs through it and pivots on a short shaft running through the hole. On the RF there is a cut-out in that "floor" rather than it providing anchoring for the follower arm. Thus if you put pressure up or down on the follower arm in the Hexar it leverages the entire rangefinder. I had a very slight vertical problem with my Hexar and solved it by pressing up the rangefinder arm a couple times and the images came into proper vertical alignment. Luckily they never went back out, and I don't recommend this method! Bottom line, the design in the Hexar is more delicate and susceptible to getting out of line vertically.
  4. Bob,
    I also dropped my hexarRF once (from 4 feet on a concrete floor), sent it for repair and got it back well aligned. Since that time i never dropped it again, ofcourse sometimes it takes a small bump, if you forget to be carefull with your camera bag, but never had a alignment problem anymore.
    for more info maybe you like to check the hexarRF user group at yahoo:
    also speculations about the minolta-konica merge can be found there.
  5. http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=003iOj
  6. Another problem with that finder is the adjustment screw for alignment is SOFT brass, and, according to Ken Ruth, has a one or two adjustment lifespan before the screw head is stripped. He fixed mine, and it also came out of alignment not long after. Konica may have not been able to tighten it to spec after the first adjustment or two? Get an M or an R2 as soon as you're able, 'cause the auto advance and AE don't make the Hexar worth it if it's not reliable. Used M6 prices are falling and you should be able to recoup 650-750 on the Hexar.
  7. FWIW
    I own two HRFs, both bougth used. No problems so far. Must be doing something wrong.

  8. How far off are we talking about on the vertical alignment, and does it matter anyway? I've never had a rangefinder yet that was %100 perfectly aligned, but as long as they are accurate horizontally (infinity=infinity,) and the spots mostly overlap, isn't that good enough? Is your Hexar so far out of whack that the two patches don't even touch anymore?
  9. I bought a Hexar RF (new) about three months ago. No problem with
    the rangefinder alignment at all.<P>What amazed me though is how
    sensitive the rangefinder is to tilt of the camera, even at longer distances. Focussing on a line on a wall (even from a couple of meters/yards away), the more the camera is tilted, the more the double image shows an X like shape where the point of focus is at the intersection of the X. When exactly level, the double image shows a single line again.<P>Are you sure that you check for vertical alignment using a vertical flat object while keeping the camera level?<P>Kind regards,
  10. The mis-alignment is not huge; but it doesn't have to be very far out before it
    becomes virtually unusable.
    When you're trying to focus on somone's eye and the two images of the
    rangefinder are floating just above one another is too distracting.
    To Alex: I'm not doing anything wrong (except that initially I dropped the
    camera) the rangefinder apparently will not stay in alignment now.

    I may very well be getting a M4-2 or M4-P for my low level light b&w work.
  11. The problem brass part was replaced with stainless steel (they did a revision of the rangefinder mechanism).

    Contrary to popular belief, you can DIY both vertical and horizontal; but the horizontal screw is right next to one of the RF prisms. As in almost underneath it. The thing you can't do is linearity, which you really shouldn't mess with anyway.

    This X effect on a wall is the reduced depth of field. The vertex is where the wall is in focus. The same thing happens with my M3.
  12. Re "The thing you can't do is linearity"

    HI Dante; are you sure that sure that the linearity has no adjsutment? I sure the heck dont know; and have seen little on thsi for the Hexar.......My Leica M3 has 3 adjustments. Vertical; Horizontal at infinity; Horizontal at closeup...

    My Bessa R appears only to have adjustments at infinity

    My Russian Zorki's and Feds allow one to adjust the can arm length; this adjusts the linearity...
  13. Yes it's easy to start messing around with the alignment screws -- but be careful, its also very easy to knock the thing completely out of whack. It's what happened to me. I got so sick of these Hexar alignment issues that I have now taped over both the rf window (and the frame window) and use the Hexar only for my ultra wides, which I zone focus. It has convinced me that,if I had the choice again, I wouldnt go near the Hexar, for all its other virtues. How I wish I'd just bought a second hand M6.
  14. Just to give credit where credit is due-

    Konica just sent me a brand new replacement body.
    I did not anticipate this, frankly, I'm stunned!
    This was not requested by me either....

    So, I'll just be VERY HAPPY and be careful not to drop it again!!!

    Thanks Konica Service!!!
  15. Kelly, I meant that you cannot DIY the linearity, since you have to take the top cover off to do it. It is adjustable.
  16. Bob: one other thing; the rangefinder was redesigned midway through production to correct problems with rangefinder adjustability. Apparently they changed some parts from brass to stainess steel, which I understand has a big positive effect on making adjustments stick.
  17. I offer no answer for mis-alignment just more gripes about it. My Konica RF was sent
    back for alignment problems three weeks after its purchase. Since that point I shot
    about 5 rolls of film.

    This camera came with me to Nova Scotia and the bag it was stored in suffered no
    more than normal bumps. Just simply taking it out of the bag, putting it back in and
    reasonably tossing the bag into the back seat of the car. I had been using a 21mm
    lens with its finder mounted on the hot shoe and the camera set to hyperfocal
    distance. I shot about four or five days like this. Never had I really looked through
    the camera viewfinder. We went into a coal mine and I needed some flash. When we
    came out of the mine I just happened to look through the camera's finder and saw
    nothing! That's correct nothing! It's as though you are simply looking through a
    solid piece of glass. It will go back for repairs and a nasty-gram to Konica this week.

    Like others I chose the Konica RF over the Leica for features and convenience. I
    believe a made a bad decision! Would you agree!?


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