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  1. #1
    Canuck's Avatar
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    Bessa Camera Users?

    In another fit of illogical impulse buying, I am THINKING of getting a smaller 35mm RF like a Bessa R. Anyone use these little beasties? Opinions?

  2. #2
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    I have one and love it. The 35mm lens that came with it is extremely sharp and contrasty. Good for both B&W and colour. I just did an 11x14 B&W from my most recent trip to Nicaragua and it was tack sharp. The focusing is quick and bright, better than the Leica. The fit/finish and build is consistant with a camera of this price range.

    Primarily I use it as a backup for my LF gear and for doing street photography. The 35mm lens is teamed up with a 90mm Leica lens.

    If you can get one that hasn't had the crap beat out of it and is reasonably priced go for it. It's a joy to use.
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  3. #3

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    I got one 2nd hand a while ago and it's a little dream with a very bright viewfinder and so quick easy focusing even in dim light. The lenses are great. I use it most with a 15mm which isn't rangefinder coupled and has its own viewfinder, but the depth of field makes it easy to focus off the distance scale. People have told me various tales of shutter and rangefinder troubles with the same model, but I have had no trouble.

    David.

  4. #4
    cao
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canuck
    In another fit of illogical impulse buying, I am THINKING of getting a smaller 35mm RF like a Bessa R. Anyone use these little beasties? Opinions?
    I've actually had similar notions but with the Bessaflex TM in mind rather than the RF. I have a fair bit of screw mount glass, and shoot it with Spotties. The Bessa's features intrigue me, but I've not heard much about field durability. Does anyone here have experience to share about the 'flex TM?

  5. #5
    Glenn Mathison's Avatar
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    I don't have one but a work mate has owned a Bessa R, which he sold to buy a Bessa R2, which he sold to buy a Leica M6. He really liked the Bessa's and the lenses he had (3 or 4) were really great. His overall opinion couldbe summed up as, Not quite as "Nice" to use as a Leica, maybe not quite as well engineered, but is the Lecia 300% better (Price diff here in Aust.) No way...

  6. #6
    rjr
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    Glenn,

    the Leica has one big advantage (beyond the shutter noise and the lousy RF of the earlier Cosinas) - íf you buy a used one today, the price is set for the next decade, you´ll always get back the same money you paid for it. In less than 5 years a Cosina is worthless on the used market...

    Re field durability - all Bessa/Cosinas I handled in rough environment (thats shops and the Photokina. ;-) had rangefinders that were heavily knocked out of alignment, both horizontal and vertical. That includes the newer R2A/R3A. A friend recently bought a R2 when it was shelled out and it came with the same problem - Ringfoto exchanged it immediatly, within 24h. The parcel courier was there at 5AM!

    If I´d have to recommend one - it would be the current crowd, R2a/R3a. Somewhat quieter shutter (still, birds will fly when you shoot. ;->), much better feeling, better Rangefinder.

    Or a Russkie RF. :-)
    Tschüss,
    Roman

  7. #7
    Ole
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    I bought a Bessa L to use with wide-angle lenses - no rangefinder, but a beautiful little camera. You may still find them being given away free when you buy a 21 or 15mm lens - which I can heartily recommend.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  8. #8
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    My Bessa R was kicked around pretty good in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica. No durability or alignment problems.
    www.ericrose.com
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    "civility is not a sign of weakness" JFK

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  9. #9

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    It is not really fair to compare the Bessa with a Leica, given the price difference. If you really want a Leica, there is nothing else to do but buy a Leica, but I am happy with mine and life for cameras on archaeological sites is pretty tough. At the moment, if you want a half way house, it might be worth waiting for the new Zeiss Ikon, which has a much longer rangefinder base than the Bessa and supposedly higher precision construction, but should still be a good bit cheaper than a Leica.

    David.

  10. #10

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    Long ago (in Internet time), I created a site for the Bessa-R.

    Here it is:

    host.fptoday.com/melek/bessa-r.html

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