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Thread: Going bessa?

  1. #61
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Sometimes batteries just fail at the most annoying times. Its usually where you want to capture something quickly, or someplace like on a boat when the waves are really roiling and shaking you about, or someplace where its just a bit too dark to see what your doing clearly, or when its wet or raining outside. Terrible times where even though you have spare batteries, its just a pain to switch em out. But this doesnt put me off from using cameras that have them, I quite like in camera metering on a few of my bodies, aperture priority, and the possibility of very fast and accurate shutter speeds.

    But those who know, always carry a spare body =] and just keep on shooting until you can find a spot to change the other set.

    Also, even though your camera might not have a battery, your light meter sure does, well atleast the accurate ones nowadays. That doesnt stop you from buying a handheld light meter does it?

  2. #62

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    Buyer Beware

    I had a Bessa body that had focusing issues. I sent it to the New York store I bought it from - they could not repair it and explained to me they had to send it back to Japan to repair. Four months later and they still have no idea when it might return.

  3. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Corneau View Post
    I'm also just sayin' that a used Leica -- one of those mechanical bodies -- can be had for near the price of a new Bessa. An M2, M3 or M4 body are out there. Mechanical Bessa bodies are also the way to go, if that's viable, although I'm not familiar with those offerings...best of luck with the search.
    I'm not sure how valid an argument this is. Based on a record of serial numbers I have (and note that Leica didn't necessarily follow a calendar year progression when allocating numbers) M2's could be between 54 and 43 years old. M3's between 58 and 53 years old. M4's between 45 and 37 years old and the M4-2 and M4-P models between 35 and 27 years old. Sure, they were solidly built and are relatively simple, mechanically and so easily maintained. If they were that good, was there any need for Leica to produce any new models after that?

    It sounds a bit like saying the only cars to drive are 35-55 year-old Packards or Pontiacs or even Cadillacs because they were similarly top quality in their day, solid, well built and easy to maintain, and rejecting more recent automobiles because they use electronics and fuel injection which, because of their complications are bound to fail. Carburettors, coils and distributors are definitely the way to go if we adhere to your logic. So we'll put up with poor suspensions, poor visibility, poor gas consumption, no aircon, no disc brakes or ABS etc.

    A handful of classic car enthusiasts will dote over these vehicles, and other makes which were things of beauty in their day, but the majority of people wanting modern transport with all its' conveniences will choose something else.
    Leica M6,
    Bessa R4A,
    Rolleiflex(s) 2.8/80, 4/135, 4/55.
    Nikkormat FTn
    Fuji X10

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zet Slater View Post
    I had a Bessa body that had focusing issues. I sent it to the New York store I bought it from - they could not repair it and explained to me they had to send it back to Japan to repair. Four months later and they still have no idea when it might return.
    That's unfortunate. The Voigtlander distributor in Australia has organised a fortnightly courier service to Cosina in Japan and knows exactly where everything is and when it's expected back. He doesn't use the postal service. He talks to them directly. It probably costs a little more but for me it's worth it. Having said that I've only needed to use it once for a flash malfunction on the R4A.
    I suspect Stephen Gandy does the same but a third party store might not be able or willing to provide such a service.
    Leica M6,
    Bessa R4A,
    Rolleiflex(s) 2.8/80, 4/135, 4/55.
    Nikkormat FTn
    Fuji X10

  5. #65
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh Youdale View Post
    I'm not sure how valid an argument this is. Based on a record of serial numbers I have (and note that Leica didn't necessarily follow a calendar year progression when allocating numbers) M2's could be between 54 and 43 years old. M3's between 58 and 53 years old. M4's between 45 and 37 years old and the M4-2 and M4-P models between 35 and 27 years old. Sure, they were solidly built and are relatively simple, mechanically and so easily maintained. If they were that good, was there any need for Leica to produce any new models after that?
    Apart from any marketing reasons (Leica is already poo-poed by the "features" crowd for not being innovative enough, imagine if they hadn't come out with a new model for 50 years...), basically all the new models added were light meters, AE and - sometimes - few more frame framelines and a different rewind lever.

    Those cameras were that good. They had/have all that is really needed and with a CLA every few decades will last several lifetimes.
    A comparison with cars is senseless.
    Does the "convenience" offered by more modern cameras really lead to better pictures?

    For me the choice between a used M in good condition and a new Bessa for the same price is a no-brainer.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  6. #66
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rol_Lei Nut View Post
    Does the "convenience" offered by more modern cameras really lead to better pictures?
    The way I see it, the features lead to the ability of less skilled technicians to produce a higher percentage of "passable" pictures. The features don't make pictures "better" most of the time. They just make technically acceptable pictures more likely. That is all. The problem is that when you can get more technically passable pictures with less technical ability, people are no longer required to learn as many of the details of their craft. And if they aren't required to, they usually do not.

    But, hey. It happens in every area, and it is both good and bad. Look at how few people know how to drive a manual transmission car, or one without power steering or power brakes. More people are driving than ever, though they have less and less of an idea exactly what it is their car is actually doing under the surface.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  7. #67

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    Took another look at going bessa (more as a compliment to my Nikon setup than a replacement).

    Well, I've taken a look around and notice that quite a few Bessa's get put up for sale. Also, seems to be some issues with shutters/quality control.

    I seem some R2A's and R3A's on classifieds and am wondering... what are some things to look out for? Is there any way to test for certain problems early?

  8. #68

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    I recently bought a Bessa R after I saw one in rough cosmetic condition show up for cheap (Around $140). It works great. The viewfinder is really big and bright, and the selectable framelines are very nice as well.

    I have another rangefinder, a Kiev 4 in immaculate condition, which has the same extremely long RF base as a Contax II. In practice I don't notice the difference focusing on either camera that much.

    I find that the large bright viewfinder of the Bessa R makes up for the smaller RF length, but I'm still fairly young (26!) with good vision, those who have less than perfect vision might not feel the same way.

    As far as all the Leica comparison.. A Bessa R in good shape, not needing any repairs costs 100-200$ and gives you a reliable meter. A Leica M2 in decent operating condition will cost you 500$ or more.. Is it worth it? Depends on you. A Bessa R can use both LTM lenses, AND M lenses with an adapter. You can't go the other way around.

    I had the money to buy a Bessa R2 or R3 or even enough to buy a Leica M8 (Which I'm still thinking about..!) but I decided to go with the R for now because of the ability to use LTM lenses, and because the build quality was good enough. I really have to wonder what people are doing with their cameras that makes them feel like a Bessa R would fall apart. It's a camera not a construction tool. It's well built enough.

  9. #69
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paradoxbox View Post

    As far as all the Leica comparison.. A Bessa R in good shape, not needing any repairs costs 100-200$ and gives you a reliable meter. A Leica M2 in decent operating condition will cost you 500$ or more.. Is it worth it? Depends on you. A Bessa R can use both LTM lenses, AND M lenses with an adapter. You can't go the other way around.

    I had the money to buy a Bessa R2 or R3 or even enough to buy a Leica M8 (Which I'm still thinking about..!) but I decided to go with the R for now because of the ability to use LTM lenses, and because the build quality was good enough. I really have to wonder what people are doing with their cameras that makes them feel like a Bessa R would fall apart. It's a camera not a construction tool. It's well built enough.
    Errrr.... I think you have that backwards.

    A camera with an M mount can mount both M mount and M39/LTM lenses (the latter with an adapter). An M39 camera will only mount M39 lenses.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  10. #70

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    woops, you're right, my mistake.

    the viewfinder etc. are still fantastic on the Bessa's though.

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