Bessa II, 1951, replacing the bellow..............

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by rfshootist, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    Is that something a halfways talented amateur mechanic can do properly without any prob ? Or are there complications to expect ?
    I ask because this is part of my risk calculation when bidding on such a camera.

    Thanks !
    Bertram
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2006
  2. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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  3. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    If you have a few extra bucks, you could send it to Jurgen to let him work his magic. I've purchased a couple folders from him over the past few years and sent one for CLA. I've only had good experiences with him and his work. He's on Ebay as "certo6". He sells his refurbished cameras on there from time to time.
    http://www.certo6.com/services.html
    Hope this helps.
    Chris
     
  4. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    Tanks to all for the links, considering his prices J├╝rgen's service seems to be the best solution.
    bertram
     
  5. tchamber

    tchamber Member

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    I had Jurgen replace the bellows on my Bessa I (bellows were still light-tight but sort of mangled). He did a nice job.
     
  6. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    What will a new bellows cost for this camera? Is it worth buying a new bellows or perhaps finding a cheaper old camera of the same size to canabalize instead? I'm sure you can get some Flea-Bay camera real cheap.

    What size is the bellows? Is it the same size as a Retina? If so I may know a source of some parts cameras.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think it's worth installing a new bellows that will last a good long time, particularly on a Bessa II, which is a fairly collectible camera.
     
  8. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    I'm sorry David, I know nothing about collecting but do love these jewels enough to restore as many as i can get my hands on. AT first it didn't make much sence to spend alot of money on a new bellows but if they are as collectable as you say it may be an investment. What are these Bessas worth anyway?
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Depends on the lens. If it has a Color-Skopar, it's likely to sell for $400-500. I think I paid $650 for mine with the Color-Heliar and sold it to some nutty collector for around $1100. A Bessa II with an Apo-Lanthar and 645 mask can go for $3500-5000.

    While I had one, I thought the Bessa II with Color-Heliar was a great camera, but the ergonomics just didn't work for me. It's kind of a left-handed camera.
     
  10. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    WOW! That's a collector for sure. I've seen em selling for around $50 but have no idea what lens it had. The ones I've seen didn't look like anything special. I'll look a bit closer now that I have some insight. I wish we had more information or people like you talking about about these collectors. Little details can really make the difference.

    I've had an old collection of Retinas come through my shop recently. These cameras are little beauties and so well built. Do you or anyone else here collect them? Is there a market for em?
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't really think of myself as a collector, but I've bought and sold a few old Voigtlanders, so I've watched the prices on those. Earlier versions of the Bessa aren't usually worth as much, because they don't have coupled rangefinders, so a Bessa I with a Vaskar lens might go for under $100.

    6x9 cameras with coupled rangefinders generally sell for more money, and the Bessa II just has everything going for it--great coated lenses, coupled rangefinder, compact design, nice finish, well made leather cases, and vintage styling.

    If they would just have put the shutter button on the top plate of the camera body with the door hinged on the right side, like on the Perkeo II, instead of putting the release on the door, which is hinged on the left side, it would be perfect. I found it tricky to hold the camera steady in the horizontal position.

    Another issue which is common to all folding rollfilm cameras is the problem of film flatness. To fix it would be to make it a much heavier and bulkier camera, though, like the Fuji 6x9 rangefinders, so it would no longer be a pocketable 6x9 camera. A Linhof 6x9 back is heavier and bulkier by itself, without even having a lens, shutter, or bellows.
     
  12. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I believe the question of film flatness in 6X9 format can be a problem even with best modern cameras, including the Fuji 6X9 rangefinders. Over the years I have done a number of resolution tests of 6X9 cameras, including the Zeiss Super Ikonta C, Moscow 4, Moscow 5, and Fuji GW690II and GSW690III. What I have found is that it is quite difficult to to get consistent results from one testing session to the other.

    One problem, of course, is that we tend to use the resolution charts at a distance of 10X-20X the long focal length of these lens, and focusing at close distance, severely stretches the limites of rangefinder focusing with lenses of 100mm and more. However, I believe that the film flatness issue David mentions is as great a problem in obtaining consistent results with 6X9 cameras as the focusing ability.

    On the whole I find that in order to get the kind of quality I expect from a 6X9 format folding camera it is necessary to avoid subjects closer than about 8-10 feet, and to always use the camera at as high an aperture as practical, say f/16 to f/32. What you need is to get as much depth of field as possible to make up for the lack of flatness at the film plane and for the relative lack of precisioin in the rangefinder focusing system. With cameras of this type diffraction is less of a problem than depth of field.

    Although I have never worked with a Bessa II, and I understand that in the world of 6X9 folders it is considered the creme de la creme, I suspect that some of the issues relating to rangefinder focus and film flatness still apply, since they also apply to some extent with the modern Fuji rangefinders of this size.

    Sandy



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2006