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  1. #1

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    Bessa L - alternatives?

    I guess this is my first post. I browse here often...don't know why I have never posted.

    I would like some opinions before I spend some very hard earned money - only to regret it later.

    The Bessa-L can be had fairly inexpensively - $100-$200 used on ebay.
    The Voigtlander Snapshot Skopar 25mm, not so inexpensive - $325-$450 used on ebay.

    I like the idea of the built-in exposure meter of the Bessa, being visible without having to look through a viewfinder.

    I have several Russian 35mm LTM rangefinders that I could use with that lens (zone focus or hyper-focal only since it won't couple with the rangefinder).

    I guess, in a nut shell, is there a better (read - more affordable) alternative to the Bessa + Skopar 25mm.

  2. #2
    fotch's Avatar
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    Hi Ransel, and welcome to APUG.
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  3. #3
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    You have several Russian rangefinders... Do they work?
    If so, you'd only be giving up the metering.

    If in doubt on how to shoot a test roll which will be likely to pick up any problems, just ask.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  4. #4
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    I'd just use that lens with the bodies you have. If you're shootiong "from the hip" and not using the viewfinder and plan to zone focus anyway you should be able to take some meter readings in advance and wing it from there too (unless you plan to shoot chromes?) especially if you plan to shoot B&W.

    Alternatively, watch for a Cosina 107-SW body. This is EXACTLY the Bessa L (and frankly I think may become collector's items some day since they are so rare) but is what the Bessa-L was called before being called the Bessa-L. Might go for less as people may not know it's actually a Bessa-L. Got my 107-SW, in pristine condition, for $50, for example.
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  5. #5
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Oh, and keep in mind, the Bessa-L meter, with wide lenses, can often be "fooled" if the framing incompasses too much sky. Again, limiting the value of such a meter if you're not planning on shooting by looking thru the viewfinder.
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    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

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  6. #6
    Paul Goutiere's Avatar
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    Try one of the Barnacks, perhaps the iiif which I have.

  7. #7

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    Thanks guys. I guess, since I am very used to just taking an incident reading, I can forgo the Bessa-L body for the meter.

    Now, any less expensive alternatives to the 25mm Skopar, in LTM? I am just recently getting into the Russian rangefinders, (Fed 2, Zorki 4k, and the Contax clones) and I am pretty much unfamiliar with the Japanese and German RF cameras. I have looked at the Leica iiif, and have been tempted to try to get one, but wanted to see what other users thought.

  8. #8

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    I don't think there's really a cheaper way to get into a decent lens at that focal length for LTM. As others have pointed out, you can use it just fine on your Soviet bodies, but the bulk of the expense is in the lens and you don't have much wiggle room there.

    The Soviet 28mm Orion-15 is a little cheaper---I see one for US$299 at Fedka, for instance---but it's not a lot cheaper, and you get the dubious quality control of Soviet optics.

    -NT
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  9. #9
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    24/25mm has traditionally been a (relatively) expensive focal length.

    While you could use a number of SLR 24/25mm lenses on any LTM camera with adapters, at the very least they'd be *much* larger and probably not much cheaper than the V/C 25mm.

    I'd run a thorough test on your Zorki 4K: if it works well, then you're in hogs paradise! The Fed 2 could be an alternative, but (IIRC) has a much poorer viewfinder and requires film cutting before loading.
    If your Zorki 4K is working well, then a Leica IIIF wouldn't really bring many practical advantages (great if you can afford it, bit not really necessary - use the money for lenses!).
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rol_Lei Nut View Post
    I'd run a thorough test on your Zorki 4K: if it works well, then you're in hogs paradise! The Fed 2 could be an alternative, but (IIRC) has a much poorer viewfinder and requires film cutting before loading.
    It doesn't require film cutting---I think that's only the very earliest bottom-loading Soviet RFs. The VF/RF could be an issue (the long base on the Fed-2 RF is really nice, though), but presumably with a wide-angle the OP would be using an external VF anyway. (And if the Voigtlaender 25mm finder is anything like the 21mm, they should have no complaints!)

    -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_



 

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