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  1. #1

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    Another Bessa choice question

    Hi,

    Since I don't have money for new Leica stuff, or even secondheand komplete Leica set, I am going to get new Bessa and secondhand Summicron lens, 50mm for start, and will see later for another one or two.

    I am spectacle and contact lenses wearer, and don't plane to go wider than 28mm. So, I think choice would be Bessa 3A. Then again, 2A and 3A are same priced, and I wonder is it better to get viewfinder 0.7 magnification (2A) or 1.0 magnification (3A). I don't know real life differences between those two magnifications.

    Second question is, except magnification, is there some other differences between those cameras (build quality, or any other).

    Third question is actual compatibility of Bessa 2A, 3A cameras and Leica lenses. How that works in real life?

    I have read informations on www.voigtlaender.de site, but there are no usefull informations. So I would like answer(s) from someone who in pactice knows them. Yes, I will look at www.cameraquest.com site, too.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Haris,

    The basic difference between the R2A and the R3A is viewfinder magnification and the framelines shown. The R3A shows framelines for 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 90mm lenses at the same magnification that you see without optics. So if you leave both eyes open, the image through the viewfinder and the other eye match exactly and you can get the effect of the framelines floating in space. I love this feature, and it's the main reason I bought the R3A. With glasses, the 40mm frame may be on the edge of visibility in the finder, or perhaps just outside it. With contacts, you should be able to see the whole 40mm frameline. I can just make out the 40mm framelines with glasses that fit close to my face, but most people can't see the 40mm framelines in the R3A while wearing glasses.

    The R2A viewfinder has framelines for 35mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 90mm, and magnification is 0.7 lifesize, so you get different sized views through the viewfinder and your other eye, making it hard to frame with both eyes open, and a feeling that's more constricted (like an SLR) than with both eyes open.

    One other thing that will matter in making this choice is which eye is dominant. If you're left-eyed, the 1:1 finder on the R3A is no great advantage, as your right eye will be blocked by the camera body.

    Neither camera has finder frames for your widest 28mm lens choice. You'll need to use an auxiliary finder for wider than 35mm. The Cosina Voigtlander wide angles shorter than 28mm are supplied with auxiliary finders. 28mm and 35mm finders, and a mini 28/35 combo finder are available separately.

    The R3A and R2A are on the same chassis, with the only difference in the viewfinder magnifications and framelines. Build quality is the best in the Bessa line, perhaps a bit better than the R2, and definitely more rugged than the R and L.

    Nearly all Leica mount lenses should work on the R2A and R3A. Exceptions might be some of the extremely deeply recessed wide angles, and perhaps some of the lenses with auxiliary finders (sometimes called "frog-eyes" in English) that modifiy the field of view through the Leica cameras. If the "frog eyes" are removable, such as on the dual-range Summicron, you can still use the lens without the auxiliary finder. You can mount bayonet M mount lenses directly, and Leica screw mount lenses will fit with an adapter from Leica or Cosina Voigtlander. I think Cameraquest has a list of Leica lenses that might be too close to the shutter curtain or obscure the metering cell to be used on the two cameras.

    Hope this helps.

    Lee

  3. #3
    laz
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    I have an R2 and love the bright viewfinder. FWIW I bought the Voightlander 21mm lens and it is spectacular! My personal opinion is that Leica cameras and everything remotely connected are way way over priced because of collectors.

    Yes there is no denying that they are about the best but the prices are absurd!

    -Bob

  4. #4

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    Than you Lee and laz,

    And exactly prices of Leica made my decission to go to Bessa body and seconhand Leica lens. You know I must have atleast one Leica lens And who knows, it can easily happen that that would be only Leica lens I will have, but atleast one, to satisfy my desire...

    I think I will go to 3A. If I need separate viewfinder for 28mm, then there is no point to go to 2A, because if I get 50mm, I think I will go to 28mm and go to 35mm in future. Well, will see, but 3A is 95% decided...

    Thak you again and regards.

  5. #5
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Haris,

    If you go with the R3A, you might want to consider a 40mm lens as your standard focal length. Leica and Minolta made the 40mm f:2 Summicron-C and 40mm f:2 Minolta Rokkor for the Leica CL and Minolta CLE respectively back in the 70's and 80's. They are essentially the same design. These lenses have excellent reputations and are not too hard to find used. Last time I looked, good samples were in the US$250 range. They are a good match for the R3A body with its 40mm framelines, and are a good compromise between the traditional 50mm and 35mm focal lengths. With the 40mm Summicron-C, a good slow film like Agfa 25, Panatomic-X, Ilford Pan-F, or Efke 25, and Rodinal 1:100, I've gotten results that many experienced photographers insist must be medium format.

    Lee

  6. #6

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    Thank you Lee, in fact when wrote mine above post, me too thought about 40mm lenses... Do photographers have telepathic abilities?...

  7. #7
    Ara Ghajanian's Avatar
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    I've been looking at Leicas for a while now, trying to gather enough research to justify spending $1000 on a good used body with no meter. From what I've seen they are wonderful cameras and probably worth the money you'd spend. The question I have is if you had a Leica lens on a Bessa body, is there any difference in image quality than if you had that same lens on a Leica body? Is there anything a Leica body does that improves image quality or is it all in the lens? I know about the quiet shutter and the impeccable build quality, etc., but does any of this affect the image directly?
    Ara
    Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Ghajanian
    Is there anything a Leica body does that improves image quality or is it all in the lens?
    Ara
    Ara, body is just a box which holds film and lens. Better body means that body can work in worse shooting conditions (bad weather, sand, rain, high or low temperatures, etc...), or that shutter can make more shots (for example there are cameras which shutter can make 50.000 cycles (open and close), and there are cameras with more than 100.000), have integrated good meter, motor for winding or rewinding film, ergonomic is such that hands doesn't get tired when you hold camera for long hours, etc... Those are things which separate good from bad body. But for getting good photograph important is photographer skils, after that lens and how photographer process film and make photograph on paper. Body can make life easier, but has no imact on photograph, if it is in working condition, and if its parts works correctly (for example if shutter is not broken so when you set shutter speed of 1/125 shutter fire at 1/60...).

    Of course, one has to be carefull can one maker lens fit normally on another maker body. As far as I know, Bessa bodies I was talking about works with Leica lenses. And on www.cameraquest.com site you can find informations which Leica lenses not work with Bessa body.

  9. #9
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Ara,

    If the shutter and focusing are accurate, the film to lens flange distance correct, and the body internals properly baffled and blackened, you shouldn't see a difference in a Leica body vs. a Bessa body with the same lens. I've had no problems with several Bessa bodies, including the R3A, using both Leica and Cosina-Voigtlander lenses, nor have I heard complaints along these lines on the Cosina Voigtlander Users Group. The image quality with my Leica lenses is the same on the Bessa bodies or the Leica bodies.

    The only major difference among bodies that would affect image quality is the baseline of the rangefinder, which varies among both the Leica and Bessa rangefinder bodies. The Leicas in general have longer effective baselines, and so can focus a fast lens at wider apertures and longer focal length lenses more quickly and accurately. With the 1:1 finder, the Bessa R3A isn't bad in that regard. The Bessa T, with the 1.5 magnification rangefinder, is the most accurate of the Bessa focusers. At medium apertures and at shorter focal lengths, the advantage of a longer effective rangefinder baseline diminishes. The Leica cameras themselves have different magnifications (and perhaps some small mechanical baseline differences), so a .85 finder will focus more accurately than a .58. The M3 has a .91 finder magnification. You can find specifics on effective rangefinder baselines for various models on cameraquest.com.

    If you check the reviews by Erwin Puts (a Leica lens expert), a number of the C-V lenses rival the Leica lenses proir to current production (i.e. the latest Leica designs) in image quality. The CV 75mm f:2.5 Color Heliar is one of my favorite lenses. Puts says it's a derivative of the rare and highly-regarded Elcan (E.Leitz-Canada) 75mm f:2.5 design, but I didn't know that before I bought, and I trust what I see on the negatives more than anything else.

    Lee

  10. #10
    laz
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    Quote Originally Posted by haris
    You know I must have atleast one Leica lens And who knows, it can easily happen that that would be only Leica lens I will have, but atleast one, to satisfy my desire...
    Okay okay, I'll confess, I have a less that secret desire for a Leica lens. And to tell the truth if my ship came in I would probably spring for a Leica over-priced or not.

    Of course when my ship comes in I'll be at the airport!

    -Bob

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