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Thread: Bessa is best

  1. #1
    Frank-G's Avatar
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    Bessa is best

    Considering the quality, the feel and the price.... Here's what I think.

    There is almost a Bessa with every mount type with several adaptors available. Just see what Cameraquest has for you. The trying part is picking one. However, since the latest and greatest are the m-mount models, and at least 4 M-lens brands to choose from, the choice is clear. It is the R2A or the R3A, depending on which frame-lines are desired; and you can always buy both! You may believe the newest RM versions are better, and perhaps so, but what about the lack of auto exposure? Oops. Back to the R2A and R3A. There you go.

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    Auto exposure?? Who needs it? I sure don't.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  3. #3
    Frank-G's Avatar
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    You can always shut if off.

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    I've been having fits over the Bessa's lately. I really want one bad, but don't know which one would be right for me. When the funds come available, I will buy one. What's the difference between the R2M & R3M and their A brethren? Is there a difference between the M & A besides auto exposure. Will the A fire without batteries?

    What's your opinion on the 50/2 Heliar? How about the 40/1.4 Nokton?

  5. #5
    Frank-G's Avatar
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    I haven't read anything meaningful about 50/2 Heliar but I have read good things about the 40/1.4 Nokton---except that it's small for big hands. I have the 50mm F1.5 Nokton, but I haven't developed my films yet.

    You can read all about the Bessas on http://www.cameraquest.com - you can even buy one from there.

    I prefer the auto exposure because I waste less time fondling---'er, fiddling. That's why I love my R3A's.

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    The R2A/R3A are battery dependent and allow auto exposure; the R2M/R3M require the battery only for metering but have no auto exposure.

    They are without doubt superb value for money. The only major objective complaints are the very short rangefinder base (all models) and hard-to-read metering in the R2A/R3A. Many have also found that the shutter release on the R2A/R3A is too sensitive and sometimes goes off while you are trying to make a meter reading. I haven't handled the R2M/R3M yet so don't know about the meter or shutter release.

    The ZI offers a much better viewfinder with auto-keyed frame lines (manually selected on Bessas) and a much longer RF base. My wife Frances Schultz also finds them easier to hold still. The meter is not as good as it might be and you can't fit a trigger base as you can with Voigtlanders and Leicas. I don't like the bottom rewind but Frances finds it no problem.

    And the Leica is simply smoother and nicer, as it ought to be at the price.

    Without doubt, it'd diminishing returns as the price goes up, but equally, the ZI and Leica are better cameras. Whether the improvements are worth the money is something only you can decide.

    Cheers,

    Roger

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    Roger makes a good good point about the base length. It should really only be a deterrent if you're shooting longer lenses at wider apertures though. I've had little trouble with focusing accuracy with a Nokton 50 wide open at f/1.5 and have read similar experiences. It does take extra care to focus of course.

    I can't really comment on the metering, as I normally use a handheld meter. However, as mentioned above, the R2/3a require batteries for the shutter to operate. It's no big deal til the batteries die and you're out in the open plains of western Kansas, 20 miles down a dirt road photographing some really cool abandoned stone farm house, setting your 10 hour road trip back an extra hour and half JUST to take these pictures.. and your battery dies (and you didn't bring a backup). <grumble.. explatives being muttered> So just keep that in mind
    "Technology is a big destroyer of emotion and truth. Opportunity doesn't do anything for creativity. Yeah, it makes it easier and you can get home sooner, but it doesn't make you a more creative person. That's the disease you have to fight in any creative field.. ease of use." - Jack White

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank-G
    You can always shut if off.
    No need, I just use the manual metering in my R3M - or my Pentax Spotmeter.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

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    One thing I've noticed in random scouting on prices is that very few people who buy Bessa seem to ever, ever, sell them.

    No problem finding an M4-P though

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    One thing I've noticed in random scouting on prices is that very few people who buy Bessa seem to ever, ever, sell them.

    No problem finding an M4-P though
    Probably because they're not worth enough to warrant the effort of trying to sell them, whereas a Leica almost invariably is. I sold my Bessa-R because I wasn't using it and it wasn't M-mount.

    Cheers,

    R.

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