Voigtlander Bessa III/Fuji 667
OK, I resisted the temptation for a long time but finally decided to sell off some ULF lenses that I was no longer using and buy the new folding 6X7 cm Voigtlander Bessa III.
The camera arrived today and my impression is highly favorable with the feel and look of the camera. I ran a rolll of film through the camera and found it to be a very easy camera to work with with. It has the best viewfinder I have ever seen on a rangefinder camera, and the shutter is so quiet you have to strain to hear it release. As others have remarked, the Bessa III out Leicas the Leica in this regard.
I did find the overall size somewhat disappointing in that one of my major reasons for buying this camera was to have a nice compact traveling camera that will make high quality negatives. But the Bessa III 667 is in fact quite a bit less compact and heavier than my 1950s vintage Bessa III, which is 6X9 cm format. The dimensions of the Bessa III are 165mm long X 101mm high X 38mm thick, and the weight is 830 grams. The dimensions of the Bessa III are 178mm long X 109mm high X 64mm thick, and the weight is 1030 grams.
Now there is no comparison in ease of use of the two cameras as the new Bessa III has it all over the old Bessa II in this respect, and I am sure that the optics of the Bessa III will be quite an improvement over any of the lenses offered with the Bessa II, but I am a bit disappointed with the size of the Bessa III.
Last edited by sanking; 11-25-2009 at 10:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I am a bit disappointed by the size and weight also. I have been using it as a 6x6; I wish it could go to a 6x9 but I can live with 6x6 and 6x7. I also like the more "modern" way it operates in comparison to the older folders I have. If I remember correctly, It will not close with a filter on the lens - somewhat of an inconvenience as I use the yellow 8 90% of the time.
Sandy, 64mm thick? Really? That is surprising. It looked more svelte in the photos I saw. So I guess it isn't any more pocketable than a mamiya 6.
How about the stability of the pop out mechanism and the focusing cam?
Seeing a Bessa III in person, I was surprised at what a monster it looks like. It was on the shelf next to some of the Fuji 6x9 rangefinders---and those are HUGE cameras---and while it wasn't *that* big, it looked basically like it belonged with them, rather than with the more compact "classic folder" form factor. I didn't handle it or see it folded up, but it did make me wonder how well it really achieves the compactness of its ancestors.
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How thick is the Mamiya 6 folded?
Originally Posted by keithwms
The pop out mechanism and focusing cam seem remarkably stable, with no play at all.
I really wish you guys would stop talking about this camera
I saw a comparison photo over on RFF, and was quite shocked at its size in comparison to the old 6x9 folders. But then, I was quite taken aback the first time I saw a Fuji 645 folder - quite a bit bulkier than my Iskra.
Still very tempting though. But I will resist. I will.
I will measure it now. About the same as the ga645zi, IIRC.
Originally Posted by sanking
Okay... 6" by 4.5" by 3.5".... 152 by 114 by 89mm. Without a lens it's about 60mm thick. Of course the main advantage is... three small lenses... and I don't have those other annoying lens temptations in the 7/7ii line...
I agree that it is a bit bulky. I shot several rolls with a Bess III that belongs to a friend of mine and it is a well built camera, with a very nice viewfinder, excellent meter, and a terrific lens. If it was smaller than it is I might feel drawn to it as a supplement to my Mamiya 7, but as it is I don't. It is really nice though....
Build quality of the Bessa III is really very high, better than Mamiya 6/7/7II without question. However, based on the size of the Mamiya 7II format I don't see why the Bessa III could not have been made more compact. In fact, the present body would easily allow for a full 6X9 cm format.
Originally Posted by Richard Wasserman
Perhaps that is what Cosina has in mind, i.e. introducing a 6X9cm camera based on the same body?