Hope this formats OK. Data is from cameraquest.com and other sources. Base is baseline of rangefinder in mm. Magnification is effective magnification of viewfinder relative to life size. EBL is effective baseline, or Base x Mag. The last column is effective baseline as a percentage of the effective baseline of the M3.
Camera Base Mag EBL % of M3
Bessa R3A 37 1 37 59%
Bessa T 35.8 1.5 53.7 86%
Bessa R,R2,R2A 37 0.68 25.16 40%
M3 68.5 0.91 62.33 100%
M2 68.5 0.72 49.32 79%
M4 68.5 0.72 49.32 79%
Any mistakes are mine. The order is random. This isn't the only criterium for making a choice, but the info may help when you've chosen other factors that are important to you.
Well, the preview looks like column formatting is lost, but the data are there.
Ted Grant said in a Photographer's Forum interview:
Originally Posted by Frank Petronio
"...When I got my first Leica M4, I felt a psychological change come over me. I identified with Cartier-Bresson and Eisenstaedt. They used a Leica, therefore so would I. I know that the brand of camera means nothing. But it raised my own expectations, and my photographs got better."
Kind of a side-track, I know, but it's interesting, how these things work.
I agree. I only got the R because I use the self timer a lot and the accessory ones that screw into the shutter button don't survive muddy dig sites too well. Plus I already had some L39 lenses, although you can put them on Leicas and later Bessas with an adaptor. I think the later Bessas might also be a bit less noisy.
Originally Posted by mikeg
Tom is quite right that not all Voigtlanders have the same RF baseline, again I was just quoting the R.
Thanks for the advice, I'd seen M4-2's in various dealer ads in the back of AP for roughly £500 (body only) on occassions so I dont mind paying this sort of price and then however much more for a couple of lenses (a grand and a bit?). My biggest worry was that if any damage should occur to a Leica i'd be devastated (and no doubt suffer the financial equivalent of being 'tombstoned') which is why I considered a Bessa. I'm impressed however with the Bessa's on sale at Robert White so I might look into those, also I recently met a professional photographer covering the behind the scenes action at the crucible (sheffield - world snooker championship) using an Epson RD-1 (basically a Bessa R3a right?) who seemed quite happy with it (he was using it instead of his Leica's)
The M4-2 is not an M4, and the M4's command higher prices. Look here:
for a discussion of some of the differences, and of manufacturing changes to the M4-2 over its production life. There are other places to find more info as well that you should find with a google search. You should just be aware that you shouldn't pay M4 prices for an M4-2, and that what you've heard about the M4 may not necessarily apply to the M4-2.
Actually, this page is a good read for anyone thinking about buying Leica rangefinders, as it covers the whole range and discusses the main pros and cons for each model.
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I do not know the current price situation in UK, but in Germany prices for M2 and M3 are going down, roughly 400 GBP on a sound M3 in Cologne. In Hamburg (Leica by Meister) 400 should get you a reasonable one as well. Actually it is harder to find M2 than M3. M4 are going at higher prices like 600, while the later M4-P is closer to 500 GBP. First decision would be 35 or 50 mm shooter? If you are using 50+90 mm lenses the M3 is first choice, if 35 mm is mostly used M2 suits you better. I assume you've read the page at cameraquest before reading this.
Service: Do not worry, CRR Luton does a great job, a complet service is 150 GBP. I picked up an M3 in messy conditions and he did an excellent job getting it back to life and a black paint job as well. Only downside: he is very busy.
So based on a budget of 1000 GBP, you should be able to squeeze in a 50 mm and a 90 mm lens, like a 50 mm Summicron and a 90 mm Summicron Canada, the later can be found in Germany at 250 GBP as a black lens, early chrom ones costing 700 GBP!
I would rather get a Leica body and Voigtländer lenses, a new 35/1.7 or 50/1.5 could be cheaper than a used Leica lens. Leica 90 mm used lenses are rather cheap so I would see no reason to get the 90/3.5.
Colour? We can always use an airbrush later...
I have a Bessa R with 35mm VC lens and 90mm Leica lens. I have never had any problems with it, the focusing works well. My negs are tack sharp and well exposed. I have the camera in everything from deserts to jungles and it hasn't missed a beat.