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Thread: Going bessa?

  1. #31
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klainmeister View Post
    Sounds like you need a Mamiya 7.
    Haha after that recent resolution and color test shoot out between the 8x10, 4x5, the digital backs, and the 7, I think I need one myself!

    And also to comment, I like the Bessa a lot, though I dont have one, I handled one briefly and it is quite nice and fast in the hand. A very good buy if you got the dough. But also keep in mind some things a range finder cant do well easily, telephoto shots, and close up work. Plus the lens get very expensive quickly if you want anything fast or wide.

    Also btw, I have the screens mentioned, H and G and they do allow you to focus very quickly but you lose dof preview. The P screen is also very good as well and a bit more common than the G or H, but in truth you have to practice with with any camera to get quick at focusing it.

  2. #32
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    I'm delighted you liked the Leicaflex SL.

    Actually, they are very tough, durable and reliable.
    Compared, say, to a Nikon F, they might not do half a million shutter cycles without batting an eye and using them as a hammer (or a weapon) might harm the meter needle (meterless Fs and F2s have an unfair advantage there!).

    So while not quite as legendarily bombproof as the Fs and F2s, one Leicaflex SL2 famously survived being ejected from a fighter jet and lying in the American desert for months before being found....
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  3. #33

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    Besides camera size, there is something else that has been missed here --
    Especially for low light, large aperture lens photography, the Leica has a longer baseline rangefinder than any Bessa ever made.
    So if that will be your main RF use, a Leica will serve you better, with more in-focus shots.

  4. #34
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriXfan View Post
    the Leica has a longer baseline rangefinder than any Bessa ever made.
    Which Leica? The bessa T has one of the longest effective baselines on the market. I don't remember the numbers offhand, but it bests most of the Leica Ms, with exception of the M3... as I recall.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  5. #35

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    You remember incorrectly.
    See Stephen Gandy, Bessa importer's website:
    http://www.cameraquest.com/leica.htm

    According to him the Bessa RF cameras are #11 of 19 on the list of rangefinder baseline lenghts, with 10 Leicas ahead of it.
    I didn't make it up or measure it, just reporting what the importer says there:

    "The entire idea of Rangefinders is accurate focus. The longer the RangeFinder Base and the larger the Image Magnification size, the longer the Effective Base Length.

    RF x IM = EBL

    The longer the EBL, the greater the Rangefinder and focus accuracy.

    The longer and faster the lens, the more important EBL becomes for accurate focus. If you are having trouble getting consistent focus with the 75/1.4 or 50/1 on your M6, you might want to try a M3 (or the M6/M7/MP .85) for increased focusing accuracy."

    According to Gandy the EBL of the Bessa cameras is: 25.16
    And various Leica M EBL is: 49.32
    Except M3 EBL which is: 62.33 which he calls the "most accurate"

    Whether this will make a difference in your shooting accuracy I can't say, but certainly if you plan to use a really fast lens f 1.2 or even a Noctilux, I suspect it might

  6. #36

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    A lot of opinions paraded here by people who have "handled" a Bessa but not owned one, and a fair bit of misinformation too.

    The Bessa range represents great value and the R2/3/4 series actually have a few features that are still lacking in the M6 M7 Leicas. Like the film reminder window and the shutter lock and the Exposure lock, and a fully opening back for loading. The models designated "M" use a SR44 or LR44 battery for the exposure meter but the shutter is mechanical. The models designated "A" have an electronic shutter and won't work without a battery (same size). The "A" series can be optionally operated either as manual or AE. I'm not a prolific shooter but have had the R3A and still have the R4A (I like wide) and never had a problem with batteries even though I always carry a spare. It's probably a good idea to change the battery once a year (on your birthday or on Christmas Day or some other event that's easy to remember) but I've never felt the need to do this. The Bessa's metal shutter is marginally louder than the Leica which has a cloth shutter but either is considerably quieter than the Nikon with it's mirror slap. The TTL metering in all the Bessa range is very good. The Voigtlander lenses are also very good value and many of them are compared favourably with some Leica glass. Probably the biggest issue is to decide whether the R2 (35/50/75/90) the R3 (40/50/75/90) or the R4 (21/25/28/35/50) frame lines cover the range of lenses you'd want to use. The M6 has frame lines for 28/35/50/75/90/135.

    The Bessas are not built like Sherman tanks and if you try to drive nails with one you'll break it. The Leica M6 weighs about 50% more and might just make it as a substitute hammer but I'm not going to test that theory. The build quality of the Bessas is adequate unless you abuse your gear. In size, the Bessa body is almost exactly the same as the M6 and so if you feel that is too small for your hands then the Leica is going to feel much the same, although the extra weight might make it "feel" better. Others have mentioned that there are accessory grips which attach to the baseplate and this might solve your problem. The many pages on the CameraQuest website have more information about the various models and accessories and lenses than you will ever need.
    The lens you tried does partially block the viewfinder - does so on almost any rangefinder body as it's almost at the extreme end of large aperture sizes. Frankly something at maximum f2 is sufficient and isn't a problem.

    The effective length of the rangefinder on the Bessa R series is less than the Leica or the Zeiss Ikon ZI. It's not a problem at normal focal lengths but above 90mm it gets problematic unless your hand is steady and your eyesight is good. My take on RF vs SLR is that the SLR wins for macro and telephoto work at 135mm and over, but the RF wins for size and weight between 15mm and 90mm focal lengths - (unless it's a Leica. My M6 weighs about the same as my Nikkormat SLR!)

    Overall, I keep the Nikkormat for those special occasions when an SLR is best. I love the "feel" of the M6, but that's probably due to the heft and finish and a bit of "mystique. But for everyday use and features the Bessa is probably the best choice for me, and if I was on any sort of budget it wouldn't even be an issue - straight to the Voigtlander products.
    Leica M6,
    Bessa R4A,
    Rolleiflex(s) 2.8/80, 4/135, 4/55.
    Nikkormat FTn
    Fuji X10

  7. #37

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    Sure its great value ?

    From Gandy's website:

    "Standard production Voigtlander USA Bessa R2M or R3M black Paint bodies $769
    Voigtlander 35/1.4 Nokton M $629 Vented LH-6 Lens Hood $69
    Voigtlander 40/1.4 Nokton $529 Vented LH-6 Lens Hood $69
    NEW Super Fast Voigtlander 50/1.1 $1049 Optional LH-7 Vented Lens Hood $109"

    In addition, Mr. Gandy says this when describing the above 50/1.1 lens:

    "The 50/1.1 is a good match for all Leica M mount cameras EXCEPT for cameras with a shorter rangefinder base such as the Leica / Minolta CL, Minolta CLE, and Voigtlander Bessa R4A / R4M -- unless you don't open the lens wider than f/2 shooting in the 3 to 8 foot range.
    Short rangefinder baselength cameras can't focus 50mm lenses accurately and consistently IF opened up wider than f/2. However you will usually be happy with the focus wide open at 1.1 on the same camera if your subject is 20 feet or further away. "

    All from: http://www.cameraquest.com/voigtlen.htm
    Last edited by TriXfan; 01-09-2012 at 03:22 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: add source

  8. #38
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriXfan View Post
    You remember incorrectly.
    See Stephen Gandy, Bessa importer's website:
    http://www.cameraquest.com/leica.htm
    Well I guess we have dueling links then!

    http://www.cameraquest.com/VCBT.htm

    The [bessa T's] rangefinder is especially interesting. With a 1.5x magnification, the Bessa T rangefinder has a longer effective baselength than Leica's fabled .72 M6 (53.7 Vs 49.86). The RF patch is large, ROUND, contrasty, and the two images have a slightly different color to make focusing that much easier. Eyeballing it, imagining a horizontal rectangle to 35mm format proportions, the view thru the RF is ABOUT 300mm. The Bessa T is the 1st non Leica made M mount capable of accurately focusing the 75/1.4 or 135/3.4 throughout the focusing range!
    Rangefinder Base length of 53.7mm: This translates to an effective rangefinder base length of 53.7mm for the 1.5x magnification Bessa T. In other words, the T's rangefinder EBL is 108% longer than standard .72 Leica M finder with an EBL of 49.32.
    Anyway, I do almost everything with available light and find the bessa T very, very easy to focus. Not as easy as my mamiya 6es but hey...
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriXfan View Post
    You remember incorrectly.
    See Stephen Gandy, Bessa importer's website:
    http://www.cameraquest.com/leica.htm

    According to him the Bessa RF cameras are #11 of 19 on the list of rangefinder baseline lenghts, with 10 Leicas ahead of it.
    No, keithwms was right about the Bessa-T specifically. That's not a list by baseline lengths, it's a "best of" list that takes the baseline into account. It also doesn't include the Bessa-T, for which see http://www.cameraquest.com/voigtchart.htm: 53.7 mm.

    (Prewar Contax rangefinders have a longer EBL even than the M3, for that matter, though they don't really live in the same niche we're discussing here.)

    Whether this will make a difference in your shooting accuracy I can't say, but certainly if you plan to use a really fast lens f 1.2 or even a Noctilux, I suspect it might
    I've been able to get away with using a Bessa-R with a 135mm lens at portrait distances, but very carefully and with fewer shots really being in critical focus. It's a real concern, IMHO, for people who expect to do a lot of wide-open-and-close-up shooting.

    -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_

  10. #40
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Thanks Nathan... and cameraquest
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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