Leica and Voigtlander Bessa contest

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by herb, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. herb

    herb Subscriber

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    I put the provacative title to get some interest. I have the guilt of owning most all formats and more than one camera for each, so I was struck by the light size and ease of use of these two: the Bessa R and the Leica M6, both available used, with a really big price difference.
    I had a Leica Reflex some years ago, and got into a row with Leica's repair depot which was not resolved to my liking. I sold all my Leica stuff and never looked back.

    The Bessa R is a lot lighter than the M6, which I guess is plastic vs metal, but what are the reliability factors of the two, considering the camera will not be my main one, as I am a heavy MF user. I realize there are devotees, aka fanatics on the Leica side, but how about mechanical reliablilty for the 50 rolls a year shooter??

    Also, what about screw base vs bayonet lenses? How old are uncoated ones if any?

    Best Voiglander lens in the 30 to 60mm range??

    Best Leica in the same ranges??
     
  2. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    You'll be good for many years.

    You're like me, I have an R but shoot mostly other formats, though I'm probably somewhere south of 50 rolls/year with the R. The R is not the most robust camera, and it is not nearly as quiet as the M6, but four rolls a month is not going to break it for a long time under normal conditions.
     
  3. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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    I don't know about best, but I am pleased with both the Nokton 50mm 1.5 and the Ultron 35 1.7 (I like fast lenses).

    They are also the only Bessa Voigtlander lenses I've ever actually held/used. They are better built than the R, in my opinion.

    I don't think there are any current BV lenses in the 60 range, just 50 then up to 75.
     
  4. lns

    lns Member

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    I think all the 35mm and 50mm lenses from both companies, not to mention Zeiss, which you really should consider, are great. It depends how much you want to spend, and whether you like your lenses to be smaller or faster.

    -Laura
     
  5. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I'm also a fairly light user of the Bessa-R and I've been happy with its construction and functionality. It's not a "mechanical jewel" like a Leica, of course, but I think the complaints about it are overstated precisely because people compare it to Leicas (Leicae?) rather than to more "normal" cameras.

    It seems like CV are migrating away from making new screwmount lenses in favour of the M mount, which would tend to argue for an M camera (though a later Bessa would be a heckuva lot cheaper than the M6). On the other hand, there are a LOT of screwmount lenses out there in the world, old and new, and many of them are of course ludicrously good. Personally, I've decided I'm happy in the screwmount world.

    -NT
     
  6. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Main disadvantages of the Bessa R are:
    1) Screw mount, a pain if you change lenses often.
    2) The Bessa has a narrower rangefinder base (=less accurate), which could be worse with longer and/or faster lenses.

    Other differences are more subjective and may or may not make a difference in practice.
     
  7. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    Go for an Bessa R2a or R3a - the build is much better that the R, plus it takes M-mount bayonet lenses, and you get aperture priority. A great rangefinder for the price (new, about half that of an M6.)