Rangefinder newb: Questions about Bessas

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Tony-S, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    I'm wanting to get a 35mm rangefinder and for my budget it looks like it'll have to be one of the Bessas. I see there are a variety of these, R2, R3 and R4, with an A or an M after them. I have the impression that A is for auto exposure mode (of some kind) and M is manual only? I'd be very happy with an aperture priority and manual metering camera.

    Also, what are the differences between the 35mm f/1.4 and 40mm f/1.4 Noktons?
     
  2. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    OK, it looks like M is a mechanical shutter that doesn't require batteries, while the A is electronic shutter that requires batteries, right? So now the question for me is what's the difference between the R3M and R4M?
     
  3. segedi

    segedi Member

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    Difference is the viewfinder. 3 is 1:1 and good for say 50mm. And 4 is for wide angle 21/25/28/35.
     
  4. segedi

    segedi Member

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    I think the R3's have 35/40/50/75/90 framelines.
     
  5. komla

    komla Member

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  6. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    OK, great info. Looks like the R3M is for me. Now, anyone know the differences between the 35mm and 40mm f/1.4 lenses?
     
  7. segedi

    segedi Member

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    R3 doesn't have the 35mm frameline but has the 40. I think an r3a might be what you are after, but not sure about using a 40mm lens. Would b perfect for a one lens setup but I prefer the angle of view of a 35mm and a 50mm myself.

    I have an r4a and I think you'll like th r3 better.
     
  8. arealitystudios

    arealitystudios Member

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    I can only speak from my experience here, but I have an R3A and I love it. It is probably my most used camera for street shooting.

    The R3A has an electronic shutter and aperture priority shooting. As far as my shooting style is concerned aperture priority is ideal when I want to work quickly. 90% of the time I am spot on when it comes to shooting outdoors with the sunny 16 rule, but having aperture priority is nice for indoor work.

    The R3A has frame lines for 40/50/75/90. When I bought my R3A it came coupled with a 40mm f/1.4 Nokton. It is a very nice lens and I would recommend it. Is it Leica quality? I suppose not but it has a distinctive quality of its own and it looks good in print.

    I have the multi-coat version of the lens but if I had to do it over again I think I would have purchased the single coat version. I find the contrast to be a tad high and I normally just compensate by developing a bit cold. Not a big deal.

    All in all I recommend the Bessa.
     
  9. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I did own an R2A myself, now I have a Zeiss Ikon, but I sell the Bessa's at my retail store.
    If you're always shooting with wide angles get the R4A. You need the A version if you want "Aperture Priority" which is the only auto feature on the camera. The M version has no auto features.
    If you want to shoot with more than just wide angles than get the R2A. It has the framelines for the 35mm but not the 40mm. I find the 40mm a rather strange beast. It's nice on it's own and produces great quality but very few of the rangefinders on the market have framelines for the 40mm. So if you really start to enjoy the rangefinder work and decide to step up to a different camera it might not have the lines.
    -rob
     
  10. arealitystudios

    arealitystudios Member

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    I think Rob makes a great point about the 40mm frame lines. For my part, the only other M-Mount camera that I own is a Minolta CLE which also has 40mm frame lines, so the Nokton was and is a good choice.

    I have noticed when shopping around for other Leica's (and drooling over cameras like an M7) that the 35mm frame lines are much more common.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2011
  11. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    OK, thanks for all the replies. I appears that an R3A with a 35mm or 50mm is in my future.

    Thanks!

    Tony
     
  12. LudditeJay

    LudditeJay Member

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    I'll jump in and say that I really like my R3M. I purchased it in early 2010 with a 40/1.4 and I find it an enjoyable combo to shoot.

    I purchased the single coating version of the 40/1.4 and I love it. I would opt for the single coat if I had to do it again. I really love the compact size of the lens. It's a fast lens that you can use all day and all night with silky smooth operation and it won't weigh you down at all. My only complaint with it is that the bokeh can get a bit nervous at times, but of course this is my subjective opinion. It only seems to happen for me when I shoot wide-open. It is dependent on the background and the light you are shooting in, but in absolutely no way do I think it is a deal breaker.

    When I purchased my R3 the prices were significantly lower. I think I paid 560-570 for my R3, brand new, and 399 for the 40/1.4. I really like the 1:1 finder in the R3, and while I do plan to get some wider lenses(such as the 15 and 28/2) I'll have to see how I like an accessory finder. It seems that the prices have gone up. At the time I purchased I did not consider the used Leica M market, but I think that if I was to purchase today I would look into the possibility of a Leica M3 or M2 and a CLA.
     
  13. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi

    The

    35mm f/1.4 distorts a little and some may focus shift - tis said
    40mm f/1.4 neither of these but is larger - still small

    They are both availabe single or multi coated, the single coating compresses a scence's contrast adaptively, but will flare more, any will need a hood.

    Noel
    P.S> I'd get a M2 or M4-2 but not bother with a CLA, buy it in a brick camera shop with a warrenty.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2011
  14. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Well, I just picked up a Fujica 35-SE on that auction site for $20 and it is in fabulous condition. The shutter-aperture linkage is a bit wonky so I'll have to look into that. I aso got a Fujica V2 out to Mark Hama for a little TLC. It has a 45mm f/1.8 that is clear. So I'll be passing on the Bessarabia for now.
     
  15. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

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    No for a R3A you want a 40 not a 35.