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  1. #1

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    bessa ll or mamiya 7 ll

    I'm trying to decide which one to get. The price is obviously different but would save for the better cmaera/lens/result.

    Do any of you have experience with these two cameras and if so which one is easier to use and which one produces the best pictures.

    I believe the mamiya is a 6X7 and the voigtlander a 6X9. Would the size of the negative make that much difference in the detail?

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    DaveOttawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManBea View Post
    I'm trying to decide which one to get. The price is obviously different but would save for the better cmaera/lens/result.

    Do any of you have experience with these two cameras and if so which one is easier to use and which one produces the best pictures.

    I believe the mamiya is a 6X7 and the voigtlander a 6X9. Would the size of the negative make that much difference in the detail?

    Thanks,
    I'm assuming you mean the old, German Bessa II not the new Japanese one, if so I've used the Bessa 1 & Mamiya 6 (similar to M7), they are totally different to use, M is easier because VF is so much better. Since you don't give any info on what you plan to do with the camera it's probably impossible to advise which one is best for you. My only comment is that they will probably both hold their value quite well so if you buy one and decide t wasn't for you you could sell it without losing too much.
    Re detail, they both will give highly detailed prints when compared to 35mm enlarged to the same size but you may find you strongly prefer the one aspect ratio over the other. My Bessa I with low end lens is surprisingly sharp as well.
    Last edited by DaveOttawa; 09-25-2009 at 07:37 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: didn't realise which Bessa it was at first

  3. #3
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    Hi, I have used the Bessa II and it was a bit hard to use because the viewfinder is very small and not able to be used for glasses wearing people. Also, the film advance uses a red window on the back which can be hard to see depending on the film type and light. Of course it does not have a meter. Was not very easy to use. As for the format, it depends which shape of picture you prefer (6x9 is the same shape as 35mm).

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  4. #4
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    A Bessa II is an older camera, and would be a 6X9 format. If this is what you are interested in, and not the new Bessa III which is 6X7 format, then I think that the Mamiya should have better optics, seeing as they are totally modern and multicoated etc. Also, the Mamiya has interchangeable lenses, which is a big positive for many folks, and is also somewhat larger than a folded Bessa of any generation. Again, assuming that you are really looking for a Bessa II, and not a Bessa III, I would also think that it will be easier to find good examples of the Mamiya compared to a Bessa II.

    As for the format, I personally believe that it is a matter of your preferred aspect ratio rather than an issue of negative size. If you like a format close to 35mm, then a 6X9 will be perfect. If your preference is closer to an 8X10 print then I think that the 6X7 will be more to your liking. Since they are the same across the shortest dimension, you are not going to really get more detail of anything, just more image at the ends, if that makes sense.

    If you are thinking of the brand new Bessa, well, it is 6X7 too, so the biggest differences would be the larger size and interchangeable lenses of the Mamiya. Both will have fantastic modern optics. They will handle differently, so that will make a difference to you as well.

  5. #5

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    thanks for the quick response. I prefer to photograph scenery and portraits. Yes I do mean the Old Bessa ll. My father in-law used one many years ago in europe and when I view his pictures I'm amazed at the tonality and detail in them. they are much different from the digital ones.

  6. #6
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    They are great cameras. I suggest you might want to take a look at certo6.com to see what he has available. He also sells them on eBay and I purchased a Zeiss folder from him and was happy. He will not be the cheapest, but everything he sells has been thoroughly serviced. His prices for a Bessa II will range from $500 on up.

    As for the format, I suggest you go with what you like. I do think, however, that there is something to be said for a modern pretty new camera with modern optics. If I was choosing one or the other for my own work, and I was going to be using this camera a lot, I would get the Mamiya, but that is just me.
    Last edited by Paul Sorensen; 09-25-2009 at 07:54 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: added link

  7. #7
    DaveOttawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManBea View Post
    thanks for the quick response. I prefer to photograph scenery and portraits. Yes I do mean the Old Bessa ll. My father in-law used one many years ago in europe and when I view his pictures I'm amazed at the tonality and detail in them. they are much different from the digital ones.
    I have and use a Mamiya 6 with 50, 75, 150mm lenses) and use it for travel landscapes, mostly the 75mm on a carbon fibre tripod. I find it a good tool for that. I could do the same shots mostly with a Bessa I/II BUT I would definitely not enjoy using so much - but I'd have a whack more cash for tickets & film compared to the Mamiya. The image quality would be a bit less with the Bessa so I might not enlarge the prints as much and might have to use a 1/2 grade or so more to make them.
    Portraits, I think you could use either but you'd probaly find more engagement from your subjects using the Bessa just because of the retro look of it (because it IS retro). The Mamiya looks a bit like a pro DSLR with no LCD to the uninitiated.

  8. #8

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    Some of Voigtlaender's older lenses actually are staggeringly good. I've got a Bergheil (circa 1920) whose Heliar is, I think, every bit the equal of the Planar on my Rolleiflex. Obviously there's some sample variation in lenses that old, and I've got a good one, but I wouldn't automatically write off the optics of a prewar Voigtlaender too casually, even as compared to the modern best-of-the-best.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  9. #9

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    Like others I assume you mean the 1950s Voigtlander Bessa II versus the modern Mamiya 7?

    The Bessa II was a very good camera in its time and in good shape is still capable of making nice sharp pictures. It is a bit difficult to use because of the squinty viewfinder, film advance is by means of the ruby window, and the shutter release is on the left hand side of the camera, which is bothersome to most right handed persons. Also, the pressure plate was a weak point to begin with and may not give even pressure some 50+ years later. The camera had several lens options, but all of them were 105mm.

    The Mamiya 7, on the other hand, is without question the sharpest MF rangefinder ever made. It is easy to use, the viewfinder is big and bright, film advance is automatic by lever, and there is an internal meter and automatic exposure control. It is a system camera in that range finder coupled lens are available in 43mm, 50mm, 65mm, 80mm and 150mm.

    I have a Bessa II with Color Skopar in very good condition, and a Mamiya 7II outfit. I enjoy making negatives with the Bessa but it requires a different approach that takes more time than with the Mamiya 7II, and the final image quality is not up to what you expect from Mamiya 7.

    To get the most out of a Bessa II I would suggest putting it on a tripod and use at apertures of f/11 - f/32 to minimize possible lack of alignment of the range finder and problems with the pressure plate.

    Sandy King
    Last edited by sanking; 09-25-2009 at 10:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    I Thank all of you for the expertise. the opinions seem to guide me to save and purchase a used maiya 7 ll. It should satisfy my expectations for a while till I start to working on developing my own pictures. then I will have more controll over the final picture.

    thanks again for all your opinions. greatly appreciated.

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