Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/07/05

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Subject: Re: [Leica] OT: (kind of) Voightlander 90mm?
From: "Craig Roberts" <>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 11:29:30 -0400
References: <000d01bfe68c$5e9387c0$>

Regarding the rangefinder camera comparison article in June's "Practical
Photogrpahy" magazine, B.D. asked:  "Just how superior was the M body to the
Hexar, and superior how - in what ways?"

The article was written by Daniel Lezano and is entitled "Can't afford a
Leica M6?".   The premise, obviously, is that there are now viable and
affordable rangefinder camera alternatives to the Leica.

Mr. Lezano predictably faults the M6's "fiddly" film loading and wishes for
a built-in handgrip to aid handling.  He's also unhappy with the PC socket
position which, he says, interferes with viewfinder access when using studio
flash.  He praises the Leica's superior rangefinder focusing ("sweetest of
the bunch"), overall superior build quality, durability, smoothness of
operation and shutter quietness.  The M6 is presented as the standard by
which the others are measured.  He concludes: "You can understand why this
is the camera rangefinder buffs aspire to gets on with its job
quietly and efficiently and turns in fine results time and again.  But it is
very expensive."

Using test data from multi-title Leica book author Brian Bower, Lezano rates
the Leica rangefinder the most accurate followed by the Konica and...some
distance behind...the Voigtlander.

I forgot to mention earlier that the Contax G2 is included in the
comparison, the author points's not a true rangefinder,
"but rather an autofocus camera with an electronic manual focus option."
He concludes; "it isn't a true Leica variant, but for grab shots it's faster
than the others."

The Konica, he says, "looks and feels like a Leica."  He lauds its die-cast
aluminum shell and titanium cover, rubber coating and small handgrip as well
as the focusing feel of its lenses.  He also mentions that the viewfinder is
slightly brighter than the Leica's.

The downside, however, is the rangefinder focusing.  It may be accurate in
tests, but it's hard to use in practice with critical focusing considered
"tricky."  Overall, however, Lezano considers the Konica "a gorgeous camera
to use."

He doesn't seem to consider the somewhat clanky, noisy Voigtlander in the
same league as far as build quality goes.  But then, considering that it
costs a mere fraction of the others, he was surprised at how well the
Bessa-R works.  In the end, he tags the Voigtlander the "best value" of the

Optical sharpness of moderately wide and mild telephoto lenses from each of
the cameras is demonstrated by using 36x blowups from a test chart.  The
Leica lenses tested were the 28mm Elmarit and the 90mm APO Summicron.  All
test frames were shot at f8.  A couple of the shots were spoiled by AF or
operator error (the Contax automation and the Konica's tricky rangefinder).
Other than those it's...quite frankly...darned near impossible to tell the
lenses apart.  These are measures of sharpness only.  Other more subjective
lens performance characteristics are not addressed in the article.


Replies: Reply from "Ken Iisaka" <> (Re: [Leica] OT: (kind of) Voightlander 90mm?)
In reply to: Message from "B. D. Colen" <> (RE: [Leica] OT: (kind of) Voightlander 90mm?)