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  1. #1

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    Bessa R - still a good buy or pass?

    I just saw a listing for a Bessa R and also a voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 (ltm) and while the Nokton sounds great I'm a little weary of the Bessa R.

    I've looked all over the Internet and the reviews regarding long term are mixed at best. But I wanted to get a second opinion from fellow APUGers here to see if the Bessa R is an okay camera in the long term.

    The reason why the Bessa R and not a Leica is affordability. If the Bessa R isn't that great I will just continue building up my SLR line.

    Thoughts on a buying a used Bessa R?

  2. #2
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    It probably depends on how cheap it is. The bessa r is a good camera, mechanical and only needs batteries for the meter, but feels a bit plasticy. If you intend on focusing your kit toward screw mount lenses, this camera would be a nice start. I think the most common problem I've seen people report is a misaligned rangefinder(adjustments can be reached from under the hotshoe without top plate removal). A better buy might be the r2 with m mount as you can get ltm adapters to utilize both m and ltm lenses. Also not all lenses may work on the bessa r line and ZM cameras with the double shutters because of the reduced depth behind the lens. My bessa r unfortunately has scrapes from a collapsable 50mm f3.5 lens, but no shutter damage (you can check carefully on bulb). One other thing, maybe it's just me, but the meter can go out of range depending on what iso/shutter speed you set and give you and underexposure warning, which is really annoying sometimes.

  3. #3
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    How much was it?
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  4. #4

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    $280 Cdn. Supposedly excellent condition but I haven't seen it yet.

  5. #5

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    Seems a bit high, but then they aren't making more of them and I don't see them coming up for sale too often. The covering is plastic, so it doesn't wear too well, but it's a solid and reliable camera, with an excellent viewfinder.

  6. #6

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    They are good cameras with the primary weakness being a rangefinder that often seems to be slightly out of calibration.

    As Nick points out, the materials are only average. I think the build quality and materials improved with each model, except that Cosina never has been able to properly solve the rangefinder calibration issue.

    The package seems to me to be a good deal, as long as the lens is in very good/excellent condition.

    The only downside of the Bessa-R is that it's a screw-mount camera, so you can't use any M lenses.

    However, it's an affordable way to jump into the rangefinder world.

    Just check that the rangefinder shows proper alignment horizontally AND vertically.

    I owned this model with a Color-Skopar 35mm for a number of years. I was very pleased with it. The rangefinder was off slightly (horizontally).

  7. #7

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    I've used a Bessa-R as my primary 35mm camera for the last few years, and I agree with everything said above (I haven't had the rangefinder alignment problems personally, though). As a platform for screwmount lenses, I think it's hard to beat in value-for-money terms.

    The price would be high for the body only or the lens only, but for the combination it seems like a steal.

    -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_

  8. #8

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    Feb 2010
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    I won my "R" 5 or six years ago.after useing an SLR for a long time and I have to say it seemed like a "cheapy" as after using the older SLR's it just felt like a toy. My collection moved toward the Canon's a, vi-t,a III, the IIf, a 7and 3 P's. but after a bit of use it has become a favorite to me. A big plus is the LTM/M-39 lens mount. My personal taste run to the classic glass. There are others but the German, Japanese, or Russian glass is hard to beat. Should you decide to purchase enjoy!

  9. #9

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    They're as reliable as the day is long, small, light, and have a wonderfully accurate meter. What's not to like? Well, the shutters tend to be a little noisy (none of this Leica "snick" business), but that seems to vary from camera to camera. That's not a big deal anyway, unless you like stealth stuff. Oh, and they will hang at an angle and dig into your back when you have them on a strap unless you have a heavy lens on them, or you buy a $30 side grip, which works well but prevents you from carrying it in a half case on a strap. I went through a LOT of screw mount Leicas and the like until I got tired of using ancient gear that almost always needed a CLA that cost more than the camera did. Just buy the R, screw a lens on it, and you're ready. Build quality is not Leica like, but it is fine.



 

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