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# Voigtlander Bessa R3M Silver 250th Set with 50mm f/2 Heliar

# Voigtlander Bessa R3M  Silver 250th Set with 50mm f/2 Heliar
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Price: $1,999.00
Product ID : voigt_r3m_silver_250
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USED Mint  250th Voigtlander Anniversary R3M Presentation Set
  with  black 50mm f/2 Heliar
- Rare Silver Body

Boxed set with NEW Voigtlander One Year Warranty

Silver Bessa w/ black background is the actual camera for sale -
other pictures in listing are informational only

Only 500 Silver R3M Bessas made world wide!


Silver R2M and R3Ms were only produced as Anniversary cameras, not standard production

OF the 2500 total 250th Anniversary Sets, 1000 went to Europe, with another 1000 or more to the Japanese home market. 
500 or less shipped to the US and the rest of the world.  



  250th Voigtlander Anniversary R2M Presentation Sets with 50mm f/2 Heliar 

R3M Finder 1:1 life size, 40/50/75/90 framelines, R2M Finder .7 magnification, 35/50/75/90 framelines


This is the first time that a f/2 Heliar lens has ever been produced by any lens manufacturer in any focal length.   As one of only two camera Japanese camera manufacturers that make their own glass, my guess is that Mr. K instructed the glass work gnomes to produce special glass to make the f/2 possible in this Heliar design.  It is the classic five element Heliar design.  Heliar or not, it is a very big deal to produce a quality 50/2 lens with ONLY FIVE ELEMENTS. With fewer elements, I believe this will pay off with higher contrast and less flare than the typical six to seven element 50/2 lens.


The Voigtlander 250th Anniversary Set production was very limited.  Only 300 silver paint R2M, 700 black paint R2M,  500 silver paint R3M and 1000 black paint R3M. 

These are rare cameras and lenses.   Standard production black paint R2M / R3M are in current production WITHOUT the Anniversary engravings.  


  • Leica M mount 35mm film cameras with metered manual exposure

  • Black Paint or Silver Paint Finish

  • The finder is very bright, with a very bright RF focusing patch, as well as bright easy to see framelines. 

  • R3M Finder 1:1 life size, 40/50/75/90 framelines

  • R2M Finder .7 magnification, 35/50/75/90 framelines

  • Rangefinder Base length of 37mm: This translates to an effective rangefinder base length of 37mm for the 1.0x magnification R3A, and 25.6 mm(37mm x .68 magnification) for the R2A.   In other words, the R3A's rangefinder is 74% as long as the standard .72 Leica M finder, while the R2A's rangefinder is 51% as long as the standard .72 Leica M finder with EBL of 49.32.

  • R2M / R3M Rangefinder coupled close focus is .7 meters.  If a particular lens allows closer focusing than .9 meters, set focus using the distance scale focusing on the lens barrel.  
  • Mechanical Shutter, 1-1/2000 plus B manually selected speeds: the shutter works without batteries

  • This Shutter is the quietest of the Cosina Voigtlander Bessas, roughly the same as the Leica M8

  • Electronic Flash sync 1/125th, via hot shoe or PC connection at the end of the camera near the rewind lever.  It is worth mentioning the PC connection is much better located at the end of the camera, then at  the middle of the back of the top plate where it is continually in the way on the Leica M series.

  • With a mechanical shutter, if the batteries die you lose the meter, but can still take pictures. The batteries are easy to find SR76, and the camera has low electricity  consumption.

  • Two 1.5V Alkaline batteries(LR44) or Silver batteries(SR44).  I like the meter being powered by only two small easy to find LR44 batteries, not the often hard to find  Lithium batteries used by some camera manufacturers.

  • Centerweighted TTL Metering for ambient light read off the outer light tight shutter curtains, with a more heavily center weighted pattern than previous Bessas.

  • In my opinion the BEST LED metered manual readout of ANY Leica M camera.  YAY !  The readout in .5 EV values is a joy to use.

  • RED LED readout at the bottom of the finder:  -2, -1.5, -1.0, -0.5, 0, +0.5,+1.0, +1.5, + 2.0.  

  • The meter display activates after the shutter is advanced and the shutter release is pressed.   The display goes out after you shoot,  or about 10 seconds after  you remove your finger from the shutter release.  The red LED readout at the bottom of the finder is easy indoors, but still very usable outdoors.

  • Low Batteries are indicated by blinking LEDs at the farthest ends of the shutter speed readout.

  • EV1-19(ISO 100, F4, 1 sec.-F16, 1/2000 sec), ISO 25-3200

  • Manually set Film Speed ISO 25 to 3200, no DX

  • Manually selected framelines, like the R/R2/R2A/R3A.  The R3M has 75, 40/90, 50 combinations.  The R2M has 75, 35/90, 50 combinations.

  • Diopters: the new Bessas take the same eyepiece diopters as the Nikon FM3A

  • Ratcheting film advance, 45 degree standoff and 120 degree advance stroke

  • Unlike the AE R2A/R3A/R4A, there is NO shutter lock on the R2M/R3M/R4M. 

  • Size: 135.5(W) x 81(H)x 33.5(D)mm, 430 grams.  Side by side, the R2M / R3M are the same size as the previous R2/R2A/R3A.   Both are slightly shorter than a Leica M body, and slightly taller.  The Bessa R2M/R3M use the previous Bessa RF cases.

  • Takes standard Bessa Accessory Grips and Trigger Winder

  • The machined rewind lever is much heavier and stronger than the cast R/R2 rewind lever.  To rewind the film, push in the rewind button on the camera, and rewind the film by first raising the end of the rewind lever.   When the film is rewind, pull back the lever at the base of the rewind knob, raising the rewind knob to open the camera back.

  • Camera Film Back release is a lever located at base of rewind knob.

  • Film reminder window on camera back



Keeping the same 37mm rangefinder base length as R/R2, the R3M's increased magnification to 1:1 means an EBL or Effective Base Length of 37 mm.   That is less than the Leica  M .58 finder at 40.16 mm, but it is a substantial improvement over the R/R2/R2A/R2M at 25.16 mm.  For more info on Rangefinders, Viewfinders, and Effective Base Length see  RF/VF.  

If you are new to rangefinders, or have never tried a 1:1 RF finder, you might not realize what a BIG deal the R3A 1:1 finder is.  In practical terms the 1:1 finder just makes shooting and composing tremendously easier and faster because you can always keep both eyes open.    Again, the R3A/R3M are the only M mount film cameras EVER with a 1:1 finder!  Yay Mr. K!   

The only previous Leica mount M film camera to leave the factory with a 1:1 finder was the Voigtlander R3A, whether made by Leica, Konica, Minolta, or Cosina, although the .92 magnification Leica M3 was close.  The R3M turns out to be the first mechanical 35mm film camera with projected parallax corrected brightlines in a 1:1 finder.   There are comparatively few quality interchangeable lens 35mm RF's with 1:1 finders.   No other Leica made M film camera, or M clone from Minolta, Konica, or even Cosina Voigtlander has a 1:1 finder.    Classic Nikon rangefinder fans are lucky enough to have 1:1 finders in the S2, S3, and S4, but they don't have the luxury of projected bright lines or parallax correction.   No classic Zeiss Contax had a 1:1 finder.  Classic Leica mount Canon fans enjoyed a 1:1 finder with the Canon P with parallax corrected framelines, but with a mediocre flare prone finder.  


Like the Voigtlander 100th Anniversary Heliar and Voigtlander 101st Heliar Anniversary sets before it, the 250th Voigtlander Anniversary set were double boxed in a commemorative presentation box with outer commemorative shipping box.  Hint: Keep the boxes!



This is the BEST Metered Manual LED exposure readout in any of the Voigtlander Bessa Cameras. The 9 LEDs at the bottom of the finder indicate over / under exposure in half stop increments over a two stop exposure range.  I always liked the LED readout in the Nikon FM/FM2, but wanted more than Nikon's five LEDs for a  full meter readout.  Like the R2A/R3A, the metering range is EV1 to 19, or EI 100 f/1.4 at 1 second to 1/2000th at f/16.  Film speed is manually set, with an ISO range of 25 to 3200.  Left to Right, the red LED readout is -2 -1.5 -1 -.5 0 +.5 +1 +1.5 + 2  

Rangefinder Baselength of 37mm: This translates to an effective rangefinder baselength of 37mm for the 1.0x magnification R3M, and 25.9 mm(37mm x .68 magnification) for the R2M.   In other words, the R3M's rangefinder is 74% as long as the standard .72 Leica M finder, while the R2M's rangefinder is 52% as long as the standard .72 Leica M finder. 


The 250th Voigtlander Sets are rare cameras! 

Popular Photography raves about the 50/2 Heliar!  Take a look at the December 2006 issue of Popular Photography, page 59.  Burt Keppler's article is essentially about the 50/2 Heliar.  Quoting  "The Heliar turned out to be incredibly good, comparable at all apertures to the 50mm f/2 Leica Summicron-M we'd tested in 1996."  Cosina did it with "Newly developed super high-index glass (that) reduces all aberrations."  Keep in mind the only two camera makers in Japan that produce their own glass are Cosina and Nikon.  When Tom Abrahamasson and I discussed a new Heliar at the factory with Mr. K in 2004, he was not not at all sure a satisfactory modern 50/2.8 Heliar could be produced.   It would not surprise me if Mr K had this high index glass developed just for the new Heliar. 

March 22, 2006: Voigtlander announced the Voigtlander 250th Anniversary sets commemorating the founding of Voigtlander in 1756.   The 250th Heliar Anniversary sets consist of either the new Voigtlander Bessa R2M or R3M with the new Voigtlander 50/2 Heliar collapsible lens in M mount.   It's nice to be able to talk about them.  Tom Abrahamsson and I discussed the design with Cosina's CEO  Mr. Kobayashi  at the factory in March 2005.   Our suggestions included a black paint finish, 39mm filter size, and a faster than 50/3.5 Heliar lens.  Mr. K was not sure at the time if a 50/2 Heliar could be produced.  It seems Mr. K kept the Cosina lens designers burning the midnight oil.

The R2M an R3M are mechanical shutter versions of the R3A and R2A.  Two camera finishes are available, black paint or silver paint.  Total production 2500 cameras worldwide --  300 Silver R2M, 700 Black R2M,  500 Silver R3M and 1000 Black R3M.  At this point in time, the R3M and R2M are available only in the special edition Voigtlander 250th Anniversary sets.  Likewise the 50/2 Heliar has only been announced as part of the 250th set.  Two versions of the lens, black paint or chrome, 39mm filter size.  The 50/2 Heliar can be safely collapsed into any of the Cosina Voigtlander bodies, or into the Cosina made Zeiss Ikon body.


The new 50/2 Heliar is just a beautifully crafted lens, down to its bayonet on lens hood and red mounting dot.  It is styled much like the original collapsible Leitz 50/2 Summicron of 1953.  The f/stop spacing is non-linear.  It has clicked half stops between f/2 to f/11, but no half stop between the close together f/11 and f/16.  The silver prototype lens shown here has a small focusing knob built on the lens barrel.  The knob was removed in production lenses -- Mr. K must have thought it was not needed after some field testing.    By my memory this is the only multi-coated collapsible 50/2 lens ever made in Leica screw or M mount.  The standard lens hood is a small tubular hood, although the LH-4 produced for the 35/2.5 PII also mounts perfectly.  Note the 250th Anniversary engraving on the base of the lens barrel.

COLLAPSIBLE NOTE for Leica M8, M5, CL, Minolta CLE and Konica RF:  On my five sample cameras, the Voigtlander 50/2 Heliar collapsed safely into all of them!  Note there are most likely unknown production variations in both the lenses and cameras.  so proceed with caution before you inadvertently jam or damage your camera.

 250th Anniversary Silver R2M Top Plate: Mechanical Shutter 1 to 1/2000th, flash sync at 1/125th, note lack of shutter lock compared to R2A / R3A, 50/2 Heliar shown in collapsed position, note classic Voigtlander type style, "Jahre" is German for Year.  The advantage of the mechanical shutter is that only the meter dies if the batteries die -- the rest of the camera still functions and you will be able to continue taking pictures!   The exposure system is metered manual.  Shown is the silver R2M with 50/2 Heliar locked in shooting position and standard round lens hood.


The leaning Tower of Voigtlander: top plates compared, top to bottom: Silver R2M, Gray R2A, Oliver R2, Silver R.


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