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New Nikon rangefinder - from Cosina/Voigtlander

CD Thacker , Oct 17, 2002; 07:20 p.m.

As improbable as it may seem, Cosina/Voigtlander is releasing two new versions of the Bessa R2: one in the old Contax mount (not to be confused with the new Contax mount), and one in the Nikon screw mount. The Nikon version is called the Bessa R2S, and it's similar (somewhat) in appearance to the Nikon SP rangefinder camera that was discontinued in 1962 or thereabouts.

The full lineup of Bessa R2 lenses will be available in Nikon screw mount. Great news for Nikon shooters! Now, I wonder if a rangefinder from Nikon itself is in the works?

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Douglas Green , Oct 17, 2002; 08:22 p.m.

Well, to give you an indication, they re-released the S3 for a mere $5K last year

And, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, these $5000 rangefinders with 45 year-old technology did not sell well. Proving that even camera collectors have brains, and/or finite budgets for toys.

Cosina/Voigtlander correctly recognized that whatever demand there WOULD be for this type of camera, would be in price range having one fewer Zero in it. After the special edition Nikon S3 cameras did not sell as well as hoped by Nikon, I would be quite surprised to see any NEW 35mm film-based RF camera from Nikon.

david kelly , Oct 17, 2002; 08:36 p.m.

"Nikon screw mount"? I think the Nikon rangefinders have a bayonet mount, copied from Contax...........

Jerry Lehrer , Oct 17, 2002; 10:16 p.m.

Douglas

I know of a California dealer that can't even sell their S3 for $3000. Of course, I don't know the dealer cost for this item. And yes, it is still in a sealed box!

Jerry

js bc , Oct 17, 2002; 10:39 p.m.

The problem with the S3 is not just price - it is an old machine and Nikon is not coming out with new lenses other than the 50mm F1.4. Instead of the S3, I've picked up a user SP instead.

Perhaps the S3 will sell quicker now that C/V has come up with the Bessa - S. The developments by C/V certainly make them look more attractive. They would make an ideal pair - a metered user model to make use of the lenses and an expensive, but usable, collector's model as a backup. More importantly, C/V will be supplying lenses to the system, so not only can we now use 15mm without paying thousands of dollars, we also have recourse to cheap and decent 35mm, 50mm etc.

Stephen Gandy also said that C/V would introduce a Ai-to-S converter (as well as introducing the 12mm and 15mm rectilinear lens in Ai mount) that will further expand the range of lens the S-mount can use. Now if they will only brin out a LTM-Nikon S adapter even if it is uncoupled (don't know whether this is actually feasible).

Jerry Lehrer , Oct 18, 2002; 01:17 a.m.

Johnson

LTM (Leica thread mount) lenses were made for "thin" cameras. Our Nikon SLR cameras are "thick". I am refering to the lens mount flange to the film distance. LTM lenses would never focus to infinity.

The reverse setup is possible. See Gandy's excellent website.

Jerry

CD Thacker , Oct 18, 2002; 03:36 a.m.

I think the Nikon rangefinders have a bayonet mount

I stand corrected. I posted this thread in a hurry, before I'd even read the page it links to.

I agree with Gerald: Gandy's site certainly is a treat. I especially enjoy his Classic Camera Profiles page - where you can learn a very great deal about rangefinders.

I was aware of the new edition of the S3 that Douglas mentions - I was aware also of the price. Such a price tells you right away that Nikon isn't (or wasn't) marketing this thing as a tool, but was rather catering to the collector market. If it isn't selling well, price probably has everything to do with it. But there may be other reasons, also, that I'll not speculate on right now.

Suffice it to say that the rangefinder is back, and its popularity continues to grow. It would enhance Nikon's reputation immensely, I think, if they put the SP back in production - or maybe updated it, like the VW Beetle - and made some exquisite optics to fit onto the front. In the meanwhile, though, the R2 in its various permutations will do nicely; along with the upcoming Rollei RF (with Zeiss lenses in Leica M mount) and the Leica M series. If only I could buy them all . . . .

CD Thacker , Oct 18, 2002; 03:39 a.m.

As well as, of course, the autofocus Contax G1 and G2, and the Konica Hexar with its up to date features. Almost forgot about those.

js bc , Oct 18, 2002; 05:24 a.m.

Gerald:

A LTM-Nikon F mount should be possible for the F-F2-F3 professional cameras which have the mirror lock up feature. But I agree, this will be inconvenient, and the guessimate focusing would limit its application to only the wide-angles.

I think a LTM-to-Nikon/Contax Rangefinder mount adapter would be great. Even if it is uncoupled, it would enable me to use a 35mm or 21mm on the Nikon S cameras. Their film to flange distances are not that far apart...

Gary Watson , Oct 18, 2002; 06:17 p.m.

With respect, Doug, I'm worried that Kobayashi-san's increased fugu consumption is starting to show.How is this living fossil poised to enhance Nikon's reputation? The Limited Edition SP was target marketing at its finest for crazed collectors. VW didn't update the Beetle; they reinvented it. This is just another of the Cosina resurrections of a long-gone lens mount RF system, courtesy of the same injection moulder that cranks out Gundam Wing models. I'll salute it as a marketing coup but wonder how much longer Cosina can float the scam. All I want is a nice 8-10 megapixel black F Photomic Ftn replica. Not much to ask, as I see it.


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