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Thread: Bessa-T

  1. #1
    Ole
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    Bessa-T

    Just to get the first post in a new forum, I'd like to say that I've just bought a new camera. Only the second camera I've bought brand new in six years.

    Like the first one, this one's a Bessa too. The Bessa-L developed an annoying habit of sometimes slipping the advance, leading to a bunch of overlapping frames. Since repairing it was likely to cost at least twice what the camera cost, I decided I might as well spend the money on a new camera. So I bought a Bessa-T, and a bayonet-to-M39 adapter so I could use the lenses I have on it.

    Then of course I had to go offshore again, didn't even get as far as putting the batteries in it.

    But I have something to look forward to in a week's time, when I get home again!
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    The T is a great camera and has, if I recall correctly, the longest-base rangefinder of the Voigtländer range - just great for focusing the 75 mm f1.4 Summilux you'll buy with your next bonus! Just one thing to watch - the Bessa L had a perfectly good meter switch on the film wind lever - you had to pull it out to the standoff position to make the shutter work. The T for some reason hasn't got this - easy to accidentally press the button and waste a frame.

    Regards,

    David

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    Ole
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    What Summilux? I've got a 90mm and a 135mm Hektor already, as well as a 21mm Color-Skopar and oodles of FSU 50mm f:3.5's (and a IN-61L/D).
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    Get yourself a Jupiter-3 50/1.5. Great glass. I used it in these shots here. I sold a Canon 50/1.8 and got this one and haven't looked back.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    But I have something to look forward to in a week's time, when I get home again!
    Frances loves hers -- and it's safer with the 50/1.5 than the other Bessas. She's also used it with my 90/2 Summicron and our 75/2 Summicron. She uses a TEWE finder.

    Alas I have to disagree with Stephanie. Maybe she got a good one and I got a bad one but the only 50/1.5 FSU lens I tried was dire. I assume it's a copy of a 50/1.5 Sonnar which is not too sharp either.

    Cheers,

    R.

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    Ole
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    I've bought one of those Russian turret finders, it's on its way to me and should arrive at about the same time I do. I'll still be using the original finder with the 21mm, though.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    Dear Ole,

    Our turret finder is significantly modified, with a few millimetres sawn off the front of the foot so it sits far enough forward in the shoe, and a small piece glued on the side (above the foot, to engage the rebates) so that it fits tightly.

    Cheers,

    R.

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    Lachlan Young's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    Alas I have to disagree with Stephanie. Maybe she got a good one and I got a bad one but the only 50/1.5 FSU lens I tried was dire. I assume it's a copy of a 50/1.5 Sonnar which is not too sharp either.

    I seem to remember reading of someone who acquired a number of these lenses testing them and finding that if you got a good 'un it was very, very good, but if you got a bad one it was unutterably crap! The small matter of flange incompatibility also comes into play - a few mm will utterly screw any chance of getting an accurate focus wide open - as could the way the camera body was constructed - rather like trying to use a 50mm f1.2 Canon on a Leica IIIa

    Lachlan

    P.S. I also remember someone struggling to get a good Nikon AF 17-35mm f2.8 - he eventually went to the importer and borrowed a case of 30 lenses of which he found only one to be of acceptable optical quality...

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    Ole
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    When I was looking for one of these, I ended up getting a lot of 16 assorted lenses from an Ukrainian seller. Six were scratched beyond usability, five had "some cleaning marks" in ebay parlance, the rest were fine.

    I discovered that the FED cameras don't like the I-22's, as the infinity stop interferes with the camera front. But the four different FED 50/3.5 lenses I've tried on the FED-2 were all good. The same camera also gives sharp pictures with Leica lenses (90mm Elmar and 135mm Hektor, as well as the CV 21mm Color-Skopar), so I feel safe in assuming the register is the same.


    Here's one from a FED lens.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    Dear Lachlan,

    I really don't believe that there is any design incompatibility but I am sure there is a lot of quality control incompatibility. After all, what incentive had they to change away from the Leica register?

    The lens flange on any screw-compatible camera is commonly shimmed, and equally commonly, those shims have been lost during 'repairs'. The nominal flange-to-film distance for Leica screw is 28,8mm (27.8 for bayonet mount) and those who have measured many examples have apparently that early Feds were barely standardized at all while late Feds and Zorkiis pretty much were.

    'Those who have measured many cameras' includes some who are personally known to me, and some who are not. Among the former is Dr. A. Neill Wright (of Vade Mecum fame) who does not think there is any design incompatibility with either 39mm x 26 tpi or for that matter Contax/Kiev.

    A difference of around 0.05 mm -- call it two thousandths of an inch -- can worse than halve image image resolution: see Lipinsky, Precision and Miniature Cameras, London, 1955, page 28. As he points out, the thickness of a single page of his book is around 0.004 inches...

    As for quality, yes, both the Jupiter 8 and the Jupiter 9 were great lenses in the 1930s when they were designed but it would be more than a little surprising if there were not qiote a few more modern lenses with higher resolution or more contrast or both. Both were designed before lens coating, for maximum contrast at the expense of resolution (in the same era, Leica chose resolution over contrast).

    The Jupiter-8 (50/2) is 6 glasses in 3 groups, 1-3-2 while the the Jupiter-3 (50/1.5) and Jupiter-9 (85/2) are both 7 glasses again in the Sonnar layout, 1-3-3 (source: Foto Lyubiteli, Minsk 1964). At its best, the f/1.5 Sonnar is 'stretched' and with Soviet quality control you'd need to be really lucky to get one that was at its best.

    Twenty or thirty years ago, Jupiter-8 and Jupiter-9 lenses were readily available at very modest prices. Over the years I must have had at least six or eight of the former and three or four of the latter. They aren't bad lenses. But they certainly can't stand comparison with most of the later lenses I have owned or tried.

    Obviously, the better the manufacturer, the sooner the good, new designs appeared, but I'd back the Vigtlander Nokton 50/1,5 (designed about 1950) against the f/1.5 Sonnar, and over the next decade or two more and more good new designs appeared. Among the lenses I have owned or used for more or less extended periods are Zeiss, Leica, Schneider, Voigtlander (original and Cosina), Nikon, Canon, Taylor Taylor Hobson, Minolta, Vivitar Series 1, Sigma, Hexar, Kiron, Zuiko and Tamron SP. I'm talking about primes here. Zooms are another matter: until the last 5-10 years, only the best were worth using anyway, though modern cheap zooms are often astonishingly good for the price.

    Of course there are inferior and later primes than the Jupiters, such as most of Meyer's output, a good deal from British Optical and many more; but even by 1960, Jupiters had been overtaken by many manufacturers and by 1970s I'd say that had been overtaken by most.

    Actually, you can use a 50/1.2 on a Leica IIIa -- there's a picture of exactly that set-up on page 57 of Rangefinder, Hicks/Schultz, GMC 2003 -- and you can even just abiut focus with the rangefinder, but you'd better have the flange set up well before you do; you'd better hope the RF is accurate; and you'd better not knock the camera, as the shutter crate ain't all that strong.

    Cheers,

    Roger

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