Bessa-T

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Ole, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Just to get the first post in a new forum, I'd like to say that I've just bought a new camera. Only the second camera I've bought brand new in six years.

    Like the first one, this one's a Bessa too. The Bessa-L developed an annoying habit of sometimes slipping the advance, leading to a bunch of overlapping frames. Since repairing it was likely to cost at least twice what the camera cost, I decided I might as well spend the money on a new camera. So I bought a Bessa-T, and a bayonet-to-M39 adapter so I could use the lenses I have on it.

    Then of course I had to go offshore again, didn't even get as far as putting the batteries in it.

    But I have something to look forward to in a week's time, when I get home again!
     
  2. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

    Messages:
    2,364
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    East Kent, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The T is a great camera and has, if I recall correctly, the longest-base rangefinder of the Voigtländer range - just great for focusing the 75 mm f1.4 Summilux you'll buy with your next bonus! Just one thing to watch - the Bessa L had a perfectly good meter switch on the film wind lever - you had to pull it out to the standoff position to make the shutter work. The T for some reason hasn't got this - easy to accidentally press the button and waste a frame.

    Regards,

    David
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    What Summilux? I've got a 90mm and a 135mm Hektor already, as well as a 21mm Color-Skopar and oodles of FSU 50mm f:3.5's (and a IN-61L/D).
     
  4. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Get yourself a Jupiter-3 50/1.5. Great glass. I used it in these shots here. I sold a Canon 50/1.8 and got this one and haven't looked back.
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Frances loves hers -- and it's safer with the 50/1.5 than the other Bessas. She's also used it with my 90/2 Summicron and our 75/2 Summicron. She uses a TEWE finder.

    Alas I have to disagree with Stephanie. Maybe she got a good one and I got a bad one but the only 50/1.5 FSU lens I tried was dire. I assume it's a copy of a 50/1.5 Sonnar which is not too sharp either.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I've bought one of those Russian turret finders, it's on its way to me and should arrive at about the same time I do. I'll still be using the original finder with the 21mm, though.
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Dear Ole,

    Our turret finder is significantly modified, with a few millimetres sawn off the front of the foot so it sits far enough forward in the shoe, and a small piece glued on the side (above the foot, to engage the rebates) so that it fits tightly.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

    Messages:
    752
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    I seem to remember reading of someone who acquired a number of these lenses testing them and finding that if you got a good 'un it was very, very good, but if you got a bad one it was unutterably crap! The small matter of flange incompatibility also comes into play - a few mm will utterly screw any chance of getting an accurate focus wide open - as could the way the camera body was constructed - rather like trying to use a 50mm f1.2 Canon on a Leica IIIa :wink:

    Lachlan

    P.S. I also remember someone struggling to get a good Nikon AF 17-35mm f2.8 - he eventually went to the importer and borrowed a case of 30 lenses of which he found only one to be of acceptable optical quality...
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    When I was looking for one of these, I ended up getting a lot of 16 assorted lenses from an Ukrainian seller. Six were scratched beyond usability, five had "some cleaning marks" in ebay parlance, the rest were fine.

    I discovered that the FED cameras don't like the I-22's, as the infinity stop interferes with the camera front. But the four different FED 50/3.5 lenses I've tried on the FED-2 were all good. The same camera also gives sharp pictures with Leica lenses (90mm Elmar and 135mm Hektor, as well as the CV 21mm Color-Skopar), so I feel safe in assuming the register is the same.
    [​IMG]

    Here's one from a FED lens.
     
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Dear Lachlan,

    I really don't believe that there is any design incompatibility but I am sure there is a lot of quality control incompatibility. After all, what incentive had they to change away from the Leica register?

    The lens flange on any screw-compatible camera is commonly shimmed, and equally commonly, those shims have been lost during 'repairs'. The nominal flange-to-film distance for Leica screw is 28,8mm (27.8 for bayonet mount) and those who have measured many examples have apparently that early Feds were barely standardized at all while late Feds and Zorkiis pretty much were.

    'Those who have measured many cameras' includes some who are personally known to me, and some who are not. Among the former is Dr. A. Neill Wright (of Vade Mecum fame) who does not think there is any design incompatibility with either 39mm x 26 tpi or for that matter Contax/Kiev.

    A difference of around 0.05 mm -- call it two thousandths of an inch -- can worse than halve image image resolution: see Lipinsky, Precision and Miniature Cameras, London, 1955, page 28. As he points out, the thickness of a single page of his book is around 0.004 inches...

    As for quality, yes, both the Jupiter 8 and the Jupiter 9 were great lenses in the 1930s when they were designed but it would be more than a little surprising if there were not qiote a few more modern lenses with higher resolution or more contrast or both. Both were designed before lens coating, for maximum contrast at the expense of resolution (in the same era, Leica chose resolution over contrast).

    The Jupiter-8 (50/2) is 6 glasses in 3 groups, 1-3-2 while the the Jupiter-3 (50/1.5) and Jupiter-9 (85/2) are both 7 glasses again in the Sonnar layout, 1-3-3 (source: Foto Lyubiteli, Minsk 1964). At its best, the f/1.5 Sonnar is 'stretched' and with Soviet quality control you'd need to be really lucky to get one that was at its best.

    Twenty or thirty years ago, Jupiter-8 and Jupiter-9 lenses were readily available at very modest prices. Over the years I must have had at least six or eight of the former and three or four of the latter. They aren't bad lenses. But they certainly can't stand comparison with most of the later lenses I have owned or tried.

    Obviously, the better the manufacturer, the sooner the good, new designs appeared, but I'd back the Vigtlander Nokton 50/1,5 (designed about 1950) against the f/1.5 Sonnar, and over the next decade or two more and more good new designs appeared. Among the lenses I have owned or used for more or less extended periods are Zeiss, Leica, Schneider, Voigtlander (original and Cosina), Nikon, Canon, Taylor Taylor Hobson, Minolta, Vivitar Series 1, Sigma, Hexar, Kiron, Zuiko and Tamron SP. I'm talking about primes here. Zooms are another matter: until the last 5-10 years, only the best were worth using anyway, though modern cheap zooms are often astonishingly good for the price.

    Of course there are inferior and later primes than the Jupiters, such as most of Meyer's output, a good deal from British Optical and many more; but even by 1960, Jupiters had been overtaken by many manufacturers and by 1970s I'd say that had been overtaken by most.

    Actually, you can use a 50/1.2 on a Leica IIIa -- there's a picture of exactly that set-up on page 57 of Rangefinder, Hicks/Schultz, GMC 2003 -- and you can even just abiut focus with the rangefinder, but you'd better have the flange set up well before you do; you'd better hope the RF is accurate; and you'd better not knock the camera, as the shutter crate ain't all that strong.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  11. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

    Messages:
    752
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As the Zorkis, FEDs etc were all based on pre war Leica design and shutters all the problems with fast lenses on the Leica II and III were transferred on to the Russians. The Kiev was a German camera built by Ukranians... that is not to say they couldn't make good cameras - the Kiev 60 sorted the Exacta 66/Pentacon 6's winding problems pretty well and with a bit of care & attention the Kievs all make fine cameras.

    Lachlan
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Not really. I mean, the IIIc and later Leicas were 'based on' the pre-war Leica design too, but used a die-cast chassis, as did many later Feds and Zorkiis, al least as far as I recall; it's been a while since I had one apart. I imagine that the earlier ones were fabricated, like an old Leicas, but I've not been inside one.

    It's the die-casting that makes the difference in strength -- the very thin brass shutter crate of a pre-IIIc Leica really was pretty flimsy -- and of course the register is unaffected by the choice of materials and construction. It's just that the chance of keeping it is a lot better with the die-cast design.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Again, this is not my understanding. I am told (I have not had them apart) that the Kiev and Pentacon are substantially different designs which merely share the same lens mount (which is sensible) and overall appearance (which is more or less inevitable).

    Perhaps someone who has been inside both can throw further light on this.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  14. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have a question to Bessa T users: How close can you comfortably and practically focus with the finder of this camera when you have a 35mm or 28mm lens attach to it?
     
  15. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

    Messages:
    2,364
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    East Kent, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The factor is entirely the focusing range of the lens. My 28 mm f1.9 Ultron focuses to 0.7 m. The parallax correction mark in the supplementary viewfinder I assume indicates the top of the field of view at 1 meter, obviously a mental adjustment will be required at closer distances. Like any other good rangefinder, a Bessa will be much more positive focusing wide-angle lenses than an SLR would be, particularly in bad light.

    Regards,

    David
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Few if any auxiliary finders give much indication at closer than 1 metre/40 inches. One of my favourite finders is a Tewe 35-200 zoom which not only has a carefully graded close-focus adjustment (from memory, infinity, 3m, 2m, 1m) but also has two index marks for setting the zoom to allow for the difference in angular coverage at infinity and one metre. I don't know of any 28mm finder that does this.

    It has just occurred to me that you may mean 'how close does it couple'? Bessas couple to 80cm/31.5 inches; Zeiss Ikons to 70cm, 28 inches; and my Leica MP to maybe 65cm, a little better than 26 inches. Lenses may (or may not) focus closer than these limits but the last bit of close-up range is without coupling. I can't double-check this because Frances is next door and I can't find her Bessa-T but I'm pretty sure that's the case.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  17. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

    Messages:
    2,364
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    East Kent, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would like to associate myself with the remarks of the previous speaker! Bessa T rangefinder does indeed quit at 80 cm, for the last perilous 10 cm of the focusing range of the Voigtländer 28 mm, you're on your own!

    Regards,

    David
     
  18. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes, that's sort of what I meant, but the "coupling" doesn't necessarily mean "comfortable" and "practical" with wide angle lenses, which are wide enough to cover some range, I hope!

    I've read the specs on the T and it says something like 90cm at the closest for the coupling, but I wonder how different it exactly feels compared to other cameras such as Leicas. 90cm seems to be a bit critical distance shooting indoors (dimmed light) with a 35mm at wide-open (at F2 or F2.8). Has anyone experience any difficulty with this lmit or (often) missed the shots because of that?

    I have M3 and been debating on a 35mm lens for it. A 35mm F2.8 Sumaron(?) lens with a google is a perfect candidate since it enables me to focus as close as 65cm. But such a lens costs easily over 500 USD, I believe, so maybe a used Bessa T with a 35mm lens and a viewfinder will be almost equally as a choice, too if the coupling issue isn't really a problem.

    I know I won't know exactly it unless I use it, but just to hear some opinions on it.
     
  19. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If it's 80cm, sounds better and give me more relief. :smile:
     
  20. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I own Kiev 60s and Pentacon 6TLs and I have had them apart. I agree that The Kiev and Pentacon are substantially different designs which merely share the same lens mount.

    If you are lucky enough to get a Kiev 60 that was made with on a good day at Arsenal/ARSAT with good internal parts/materials and good quality control, you may have a good camera - otherwise????
     
  21. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I have to admit that I've never had much occasion to shoot this close with this combination (on a Leica or a Bessa), but I will add that because the RF base of the T is magnified, not reduced, it's far and away the best/easiest of the Bessas to focus accurately.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  22. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF