Bessa Camera Users?

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Canuck

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In another fit of illogical impulse buying, I am THINKING of getting a smaller 35mm RF like a Bessa R. Anyone use these little beasties? Opinions?
 

Eric Rose

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I have one and love it. The 35mm lens that came with it is extremely sharp and contrasty. Good for both B&W and colour. I just did an 11x14 B&W from my most recent trip to Nicaragua and it was tack sharp. The focusing is quick and bright, better than the Leica. The fit/finish and build is consistant with a camera of this price range.

Primarily I use it as a backup for my LF gear and for doing street photography. The 35mm lens is teamed up with a 90mm Leica lens.

If you can get one that hasn't had the crap beat out of it and is reasonably priced go for it. It's a joy to use.
 

Woolliscroft

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I got one 2nd hand a while ago and it's a little dream with a very bright viewfinder and so quick easy focusing even in dim light. The lenses are great. I use it most with a 15mm which isn't rangefinder coupled and has its own viewfinder, but the depth of field makes it easy to focus off the distance scale. People have told me various tales of shutter and rangefinder troubles with the same model, but I have had no trouble.

David.
 

cao

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Canuck said:
In another fit of illogical impulse buying, I am THINKING of getting a smaller 35mm RF like a Bessa R. Anyone use these little beasties? Opinions?

I've actually had similar notions but with the Bessaflex TM in mind rather than the RF. I have a fair bit of screw mount glass, and shoot it with Spotties. The Bessa's features intrigue me, but I've not heard much about field durability. Does anyone here have experience to share about the 'flex TM?
 
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I don't have one but a work mate has owned a Bessa R, which he sold to buy a Bessa R2, which he sold to buy a Leica M6. He really liked the Bessa's and the lenses he had (3 or 4) were really great. His overall opinion couldbe summed up as, Not quite as "Nice" to use as a Leica, maybe not quite as well engineered, but is the Lecia 300% better (Price diff here in Aust.) No way...
 

rjr

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Glenn,

the Leica has one big advantage (beyond the shutter noise and the lousy RF of the earlier Cosinas) - íf you buy a used one today, the price is set for the next decade, you´ll always get back the same money you paid for it. In less than 5 years a Cosina is worthless on the used market...

Re field durability - all Bessa/Cosinas I handled in rough environment (thats shops and the Photokina. ;-) had rangefinders that were heavily knocked out of alignment, both horizontal and vertical. That includes the newer R2A/R3A. A friend recently bought a R2 when it was shelled out and it came with the same problem - Ringfoto exchanged it immediatly, within 24h. The parcel courier was there at 5AM!

If I´d have to recommend one - it would be the current crowd, R2a/R3a. Somewhat quieter shutter (still, birds will fly when you shoot. ;->), much better feeling, better Rangefinder.

Or a Russkie RF. :smile:
 

Ole

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I bought a Bessa L to use with wide-angle lenses - no rangefinder, but a beautiful little camera. You may still find them being given away free when you buy a 21 or 15mm lens - which I can heartily recommend.
 

Woolliscroft

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It is not really fair to compare the Bessa with a Leica, given the price difference. If you really want a Leica, there is nothing else to do but buy a Leica, but I am happy with mine and life for cameras on archaeological sites is pretty tough. At the moment, if you want a half way house, it might be worth waiting for the new Zeiss Ikon, which has a much longer rangefinder base than the Bessa and supposedly higher precision construction, but should still be a good bit cheaper than a Leica.

David.
 

elekm

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That price is a bit on the high side for a Bessa-R although not unreasonable. I would expect to pay $175. However, keep in mind that this camera is no longer in production, and demand for it has risen slightly, which often has the effect of pushing the price up.

I no longer have my Bessa-R, although I have a Rollei 35 RF, which is a near-clone of the Bessa-R2, right down to its ever-so-slightly misaligned rangefinder, which seems to be Cosina's legacy with these cameras.
 
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Thanks for the reply. I guess I might get it down a few dollars if I try. Of course I have to pick up a lens as well. You wouldn't know what a reasonably fast wide angle might cost, that can shoot on, say, f1.8?
 

Tom Hoskinson

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I've actually had similar notions but with the Bessaflex TM in mind rather than the RF. I have a fair bit of screw mount glass, and shoot it with Spotties. The Bessa's features intrigue me, but I've not heard much about field durability. Does anyone here have experience to share about the 'flex TM?

I have a Bessaflex TM that I use with all my M42 screw mount glass. I've been using it in the field for about 2 years with no problems at all.
 

Jersey Vic

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I have an R2 and an R and they are certainly alot nicer to use than a Leica ltm but as was mentioned much louder and not as durable.
My R2 slipped from my shoulder after what seemed like 24hrs of ring shopping with my soon to be wife and even after 2 trips to the very talented Mr. Gandy's repair shop it was never the same. Me neither.
 

Vonder

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I have the Bessa R2 and 35mm lens sold as a kit. The lens is remarkable, sharp, nice contrast. I have come to the conclusion that I'm an SLR man and don't use it much. Might sell it some day. It's too nice a camera to sit around.
 

Jersey Vic

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Russian bodies:servicable, but less reliable than either a Bessa or a Leica ltm plus they lack the build quality and elegance of a Leica ltm and the ease of use and modern slickness of a Bessa R. That being said, Fed and Zorki ltm's are pretty solid cameras as are the Kiev Contax knock-offs, the glass is usually damn good and both used to set one back less than $50 usd in the US (before we started burning dollar bills in lieu of oil) with the 50mm so they should be cheaper and more plentiful in Europe.

Here a great site with good info on the zorki and fed families : http://cameras.alfredklomp.com/
I find this site informative and true to my experinces using various cameras he discusses.

Cheers
Victor
 

Tom Hoskinson

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Russian bodies:servicable, but less reliable than either a Bessa or a Leica ltm plus they lack the build quality and elegance of a Leica ltm and the ease of use and modern slickness of a Bessa R. That being said, Fed and Zorki ltm's are pretty solid cameras as are the Kiev Contax knock-offs, the glass is usually damn good and both used to set one back less than $50 usd in the US (before we started burning dollar bills in lieu of oil) with the 50mm so they should be cheaper and more plentiful in Europe.

Here a great site with good info on the zorki and fed families : http://cameras.alfredklomp.com/
I find this site informative and true to my experinces using various cameras he discusses.

Cheers
Victor
The Cosina/Voigtlander Bessa T - one of my personal favorites

http://www.cameraquest.com/VCBT.htm
(New) Bessa T camera body ($279.00)
No built in view finder: 35.8mm base length, 1.5x magnification rangefinder with an effective Rangefinder base length of 53.7 mm -- LONGER than a .72 M6, long enough to accurately focus any Leica M lens.

M mount 40/1.4 Nokton $349.00 Multi-Coated lens

http://www.cameraquest.com/voigtlen.htm

CV 40mm Bright line Finder -- unique finder - - $128.00

http://www.cameraquest.com/voigtacc.htm
 

oscroft

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the Leica has one big advantage (beyond the shutter noise and the lousy RF of the earlier Cosinas) - íf you buy a used one today, the price is set for the next decade, you´ll always get back the same money you paid for it.
Hmm, it's interesting to look back on this comment from 2004 and see how far used Leica prices have fallen in the subsequent 4 years.
 

Graham.b

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This is a many a tail, it is not like a Leica. That is cause it is not a Leica. I do have on a R, it is my pocket every time i go out. A field a Street. A great little camera. Plus you can if you want add Leica lenses if you so wish. So lets stop pretending, it is not a Leica.
 
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