Author Topic: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M  (Read 4915 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

LeonY

  • Peel Apart
  • ***
  • Posts: 141
  • Lasers - Pew Pew
    • My Blog
Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« on: September 14, 2011, 09:59:48 PM »
Hi Everyone, yesterday I walked into one of my favourite camera shops in Melbourne (Camera Lane), and fell in love with an inanimate object...the Bessa R3M. I played with it and a Nokton 50mm F1.1(WOW) and was THIS  |-|close to ordering it, but thought id hold off and think about it for a day. I can get a new R4A or R4M from this shop so i wanted to ask a few questions from anyone here that uses one:

1.Am I right in saying the only difference between the A and M models is the A model has an electronic shutter? Or is there more? The price is the same so im wondering which to purchase..
2.What is this camera like to use as a casual day to day shooter? I have read Skorjs review which was awesome, but id like some feedback from a few people
3.Has anyone ever mounted an M type lense like the Nokton 50mm onto a standard DSLR? Nikon specifically? I have seen adapters that go from Leica M to Nikon but im not sure if they crop the image or if they distort etc...(i understand the lense will be in full manual mode)

jojonas~

  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,919
  • back at 63° 49′ 32″ N
    • jojonas @ flickr
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 11:15:20 PM »
I don't have one myself but I think I can answer question #3, or warn you..
as the range from mount to sensor/film is different the M lenses will not be able to focus to infinity on any slr that I know of. (maybe an olympus pen though?)
that is unless the adapter has a correcting lens for this.

someone should problably confirm this though, before you can take it as fact ;)
/jonas

LeonY

  • Peel Apart
  • ***
  • Posts: 141
  • Lasers - Pew Pew
    • My Blog
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 11:22:00 PM »
I don't have one myself but I think I can answer question #3, or warn you..
as the range from mount to sensor/film is different the M lenses will not be able to focus to infinity on any slr that I know of. (maybe an olympus pen though?)
that is unless the adapter has a correcting lens for this.
Thanks mate, im aware of this.. Im just curious if anyone has ever tried for themselves with good results. Most of these adapters have some glass inside to correct this issue, i have one for my M42 lenses to mount on Nikon cameras(no issues there)

Leon

  • Global Moderator
  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,807
    • Leon Taylor Photo
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 11:31:37 PM »
Hi leon. I have an R3A - which is the same as the R4A/M other than it has the 1:1 viewfinder.

They are great cameras.

You are right - the A mean auto. The electronic shutter gives an Aperture priority option, which was why I bought this version, but the trade off is that the shutter won't work without batteries. Whereas the M (manual) version only uses batteries for the light meter - the shutter is fully functional without batteries.

I can not fault the camera or the lenses. I've owned the 90mm lanthar, 40mm nokton, 25mm skopar, 21mm in the past. All performed amazingly. But I've now settled on the 50mm 1.5 nokton which is a marvelous lens - I've not used the 1.1 though. All the cv lenses offer serious value for money and many perform equally to the leitz equivalents at all but the widest of apertures.

I'm always surprised at how many of these are available on Ebay virtually unused - might be worth saving a few Aus$?

I regularly use my nokton on my gf-1 m43 camera with an adaptor. It out performs the native lens I have for it by miles.

I'm on my iPod right now, but will post some pics when I get on the MacBook later.

Leon

  • Global Moderator
  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,807
    • Leon Taylor Photo
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2011, 01:44:09 AM »
some pics with various lenses:


Leon

  • Global Moderator
  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,807
    • Leon Taylor Photo
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 01:48:05 AM »
more

LeonY

  • Peel Apart
  • ***
  • Posts: 141
  • Lasers - Pew Pew
    • My Blog
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 02:04:19 AM »
Leon thanks heaps, the photos are awesome!
a few questions:
-whats the quialty of the camera and lenses? does it last
-how long have you had yours, have experienced any issues with it?

i have a Mamia 645 pro tl kit that i dont use enough(to big to lug around) and was thinking of selling it to buy the Bessa kit...i already have a 35mm, my f3 is super and i have excelent nikor glass, but when i handled the bessa its so light and small...perfect for everyday...your opinons?

Leon

  • Global Moderator
  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,807
    • Leon Taylor Photo
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2011, 02:20:12 AM »
Leon - I've had mine for 7 years now and have had no issues with it at all.  It has always been reliable and never failed.  Don't expect leica build quality, but also don't think it's a compromise.  the only issue I have, and it is minor, is that the black finish has rubbed off the bottom corners to reveal a whitish metal - I wanted brass!

Same for the lenses - superb is all I can say about them :) Nothing about my camera and lenses made me thing it will not last for my lifetime at least.

Are you ok with RF photography though - you say you use SLRs.  RF work is a totally different kettle of fish if you are not used to it.  I'd borrow one or buy a cheap fixed lens RF first to see how you get on if you are totally new to it. the bess a is quite a big investment if you find you don't enjoy RF photography.

Skorj

  • Global Moderator
  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,768
  • the black cat
    • Filmwasters.com
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 03:36:21 AM »
As well as what Leon has already said ref the A/M difference, the R4 also has 21mm frame-lines, the only RF camera to do so. The R3 is noted for its 1:1 VF which is great for street work as you can walk and compose with a totally clear view with both eyes while still looking through the camera. Yeah, yeah, I thought. But, until you actually look through a 1:1 VF and move about it is not apparent just how effective this is (useful will depend on what you want to do).

To put the R3 1:1 another way; you can drive a car while looking through the VF. Its that snappy. The R4 is only available in black, the R3 in a few colors including the rather tasty submarine gray.

As to survivability, mine has shot over 6500 photographs since August 2005 and has been rained on heavily, dropped, dragged through woods, snow, & marshes and has only ever needed batteries. Of which, it is particularly frugal.

As per the review, it stays largely mounted with the 21mm Avenon, and perhaps the Nokton 1.4 for low-light. With the native 21mm Voigtlander lens it is pocketable. All-in-all a great machine. Skj.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 03:38:08 AM by Skorj »

calbisu

  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,398
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 04:27:25 AM »
Oh geee, the bessas are really nice cameras, and combination of the 40 1.4 nokton... What I like is the option of choosing between single and multicoated lenses. Too many sexy cameras around...  >:(  Right now I am more into the Bronica RF645, does anyone have it? Sorry to jump off topic  :'(



Nice shots leon!! It seems bessa lenses perform!!
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 04:41:36 AM by calbisu »

moominsean

  • Global Moderator
  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,105
  • Living in camera shadows.
    • moominstuff
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2011, 02:26:32 PM »
I think it's worth having the A versus the M just for the option of auto and manual. Yeah, you need a battery for the camera to work, but I've had the same battery for a couple years and no issues. The Bessas are a decent size with the Voigtlander lenses, though not as compact as the Natura or GR1. I did find the auto wasn't as snappy in lower light as I would have liked, even with the lens wide open. Quite a few blurry or dark-ish shots. Though I admit I'm not a huge 35mm shooter, so someone who uses it more often might have better luck. But I do like it...just make sure you want one before spending $1000+ on it, because the resale value is significantly less!
"A world without Polaroid is a terrible place."
                                                                  - John Waters


Nick M

  • Peel Apart
  • ***
  • Posts: 208
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2011, 03:08:39 PM »
I have a Bessa R2M and really love it.  The manual versus automatic issue is just a matter of preference I guess.  I find that the manual meter is quick and easy to use, and the camera is not at all cumbersome in use.  The availability of really wide lenses (at a reasonable price) is what first attracted me, but, as others have said, all the glass is terrific.  It's a great all round camera whichever model you choose.
Nick

First two with R2 and 50/2 collapsible heliar, third with 15/4.5 super wide heliar.

Dave R.

  • 35mm
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2011, 05:55:34 PM »
some pics with various lenses:

These are some wonderful pics!

Wensleydale Blue

  • Peel Apart
  • ***
  • Posts: 169
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2011, 09:09:53 AM »
I have an older Bessa R which I use with a 35mm Colar Skopar (the only 35mm lens I've ever really grown to love, principally because of its really gorgeous out of focus character in monochrome) and a 15mm Heliar which sometimes you really just need to have in your bag even though I probably only use it 10-15 times a year. 

The body is about ten years old now but about a year ago I had problems with the framelines in the viewfinder which were intermittently disappearing on the 35mm/90mm and 50mm settings.  Only cost £50 to have repaired but I have read that this has happened on a few older Bessa models and that the calibration on the viewfinder can also go out of true on some of the same cameras, but I haven't heard that this is an issue with the newer Bessas.  Buy and enjoy, for as Leon notes, they are seriously great value for money and even better, if you're buying new you'll be supporting an ongoing film camera manufacturer and there aren't too many of those about these days.

Graham

Late Developer

  • Self-Coat
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,322
    • My Tumblr
Re: Voigtlander Bessa R4A vs R4M
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2011, 02:40:52 PM »
I've never owned the bodies referred to but I have owned the 28mm Ultron f1.9 and 75mm Heliar f1.8 lenses when I bought my original M6 and couldn't afford the equivalent Leica lenses. There's a lot of psycho-babble talked about the quality of Leica glass relative to Cosina-Voigtlander and even Zeiss. Around the edges of shots, Leica does have a marginal advantage (according to the tests you can find via Google), however, it is a marginal advantage.

As the shots posted by Leon and others show, it's more about what you do with the camera than what the camera does itself. You would not be disappointed by any of the modern Bessa range of RF bodies. It's just a case of choosing the one with the right focal length frame lines for the lenses you need for your style of shooting. Carry a spare set of batteries and you can get the AP mode benefits of the RxA models. If you're a "purist" then go for an RxM option.

Bloody good kit at a relatively modest price compared to the Zeiss Ikon and Leica options. If I wanted a back up to my M6, I wouldn't hesitate.
We think we understand the rules when we become adults, but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.
― David Lynch