Bessa-R? verdict?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Sean, Jun 29, 2004.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    This camera catches my eye as a poor man's Leica. The Bessa-R 35mm lens packages go pretty cheap. I'm looking for something in this range that will produce good quality 8x10 prints. The only thing with the Bessa-R that worries me is the shutter. I'm looking for something cheap, not too classic, and has german glass (probably wishful thinking!)
     
  2. David R Munson

    David R Munson Member

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    My friend has a Bessa R and loves it. Just bought a third lens for it, in fact. That said, how stuck are you on a rangefinder and how stuck are you on German glass? I still say a used Olympus SLR is about the best value out there. Well designed, great glass, and small. Don't discount things like classic Canon rangefinders, either.
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I really like german glass for 35mm. I spent years with a nikon 8008s and thought it took great photos. I then upgraded to a Leica M6, and when I got my first slides back from the M6 I was awestruck to say the least. My slides were jumping off the table the were so sharp and '3-D'. Maybe the question is how does the 35mm Bessa lens (low end german glass lens?) comapre to a nikon or cannon lens?..
     
  4. hbc

    hbc Member

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    the bessa r is great, very compact and easy to use, just you and the camera, it's great for street shooting. i was very happy with my till i droped it and the range finder whent way out of wack, now i use it zone focusing, i have read that the bessa r 2 is much more sturdy with internal metal parts as opossed to plastic in the bessa r. the best info on the bessa can be found at cameraquest.com by stephan ghandy.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    The R2 appears to be twice the camera, but also twice the price so it's probably not an option. We have a Bessa dealer in town so I'll go have a look at them..
     
  6. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I love my Bessa R. Made by Cosina. Uses the same body/shutter as some of the low end Nikons.
     
  7. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Sean, I have an R2, its great, love it, lenses are probably 90% of a Leica (good enogh for me) and it takes Leica lenses. If you are interested its for sale, I bought an M6 at a bargin price recently and some things have to go.
     
  8. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    PM'd ya
     
  9. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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  10. David R Munson

    David R Munson Member

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  11. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Many of the Bessa lenses are reputed to be very good. You might check Erwin Puts website. He does a very detailed comparison of some of the Bessa lenses against their Leica equivalents. Only drawback I've heard about the Bessa is that the shutter is louder than the Leica.
     
  12. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I can now take a bit more time for giving you a critique of my Bessa R. Overall I like it. The reasons are:
    1. cheap
    2. light
    3. brighter viewfinder than Leica
    4. easy to focus, even in low light
    5. takes Leica lenses
    6. 35mm lens that cames with it is razor sharp and contrasty.
    7. doesn't attract attention
    8. good meter
    9. relatively quite
    10. if it got stolen or broken I would be upset, but not heart broken. Cheap enough to just replace.

    I would put the pic's I've taken with my Bessa up to any Leica any day and I would defy anyone to tell the difference.

    I don't know where people get the idea that the Bessa lenses are German or European. They are made by Cosina. Cosina bought the name Voigtlander.
     
  13. Leon

    Leon Member

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    i had an r2 with the 35mm color skopar and the 90mm apo lanthar. both were incredible lenses and performed excellently throughout all but the largest and smallest apertures. And, given their excellence, thay are very sheap to buy, even new. I only sold becasue i dont shoot much 35mm then and I wanted to put the money towards my rollei mf set-up. If i went back into 35mm seriously again, i would buy another voigtlander rangefinder set-up. Also, dont forget, if you wanted to push the boat out, you can use the leica m and l mount lenses too.
     
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  15. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Ya I sold most of my Nikon bodies and only have a Nikkormat FTN left, plus all my Nikkor glass. Never use them anymore, but thought what the heck might as well keep them. Use the Bessa instead.

    I shoot 80% LF, 15% MF and only 5% 35mm. Generally only use the 35mm when weight and or safety might be an issue. The 35mm and 90mm lenses I have for the Bessa are all I need. BTW the 90 is a Leica LTM lens I picked up real cheap. Also very light.
     
  16. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Sean buddy, quit monkeying around with this 35mm stuff and use that 'dorff. no excuses now that the tripod is here :tongue:
     
  17. lee

    lee Member

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    Bmac,
    Sean may be intimidated by the Deardorff. It is not an uncommon thing to have happen. Maybe Sean would like to weigh in on this. It think it is linked to that "I don't want to fail" thing.

    lee\c
     
  18. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I think it may be more in line with using the Bessa to scope out shots to use the Dorf on. Never hurts to be prepared.:tongue:
     
  19. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    lol, well, I am a little scared!!! :smile: but the 35mm B&W is giving me a jumpstart on my local photography side business. It could take me a while to get up and running to my satisfaction with the 8x10, so while that's in progress I'll also fire off some 35mm just to get some 'padding' to my portfolio of local work.
     
  20. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    If that's what your doing Sean I would recommend a MF camera. You can pick them up pretty cheap these days. That way you will be showing photos that are much sharper and better tonal range than the 35mm stuff. It's pretty hard to tell people that if you use the Dorf things will be much nicer than what they are looking at. First impressions are hard to overcome.
     
  21. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Now if Bessa would bring out a MF camera....
     
  22. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    ya a reproduction of one of the classic Voigtlander folders!!! I'm drooling just thinking about it. 6x7 or 6x9 format, nice sharp contrasty lens ......ummmmmmm
     
  23. David R Munson

    David R Munson Member

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    If they had a bunch of sweet, fast primes, I'd be all over it.
     
  24. Jan Brittenson

    Jan Brittenson Member

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    I just bought one of the closeout Bessa T's from Cameraquest, although have yet to receive it. At $185, how can one go wrong? :smile: It'll be the perfect body to keep the C/V 15mm and 21mm on. A 120 Bessa R would be OK with me too, especially if it had a Mamiya 7 mount. :smile:
     
  25. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Would like to hear how it goes Jan. all the best, JohnMcC
     
  26. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Hi Sean, I have a Bessa R and an L with 25, 15, 35, 50 and an old canon 85mm 1.9. The build quality is nothing like a Leica of course but if I had all of the above for a Leica I would have to sell the house! Lens quality across the range is first class and that's the bottom line!