Thanks again all. I should clarify that m budget is not necessarily $500. I have $500 dollars to spend right now, but could add to that by selling my RF645 of Fuji 6x9. So, I suppose I could go to $1000 if necessary.
Mike - I think (2) describes my situation better. I am not hung on getting a Leica. I just want something good so yeah, I'm seriously considering one of these Bessa cameras.
I understand from a few posters here now that the build quality of the Bessa's is not as good as a Leica obviously. Someone mentioned that is not as quiet for example. That doesn't bother me too much. It mightn't feel as good. I think I can live with that too. I would be more concerned about the quality of the lens. So suppose I couldn't get the all-Leica kit but instead had to compromise by getting a Bessa body + Summicron lens or else a Leica body + Voigtlander lens. Which would make more sense? My instinct would be to get the best quality lens and compromise on the body ...
Lens-hacker: thanks for bringing the Leica CL to my attention. That looks like it might almost perfect. I see them on ebay for closer to $1000 but as you say, with a bit of patience that could be a runner. I do have a hand-held meter by the way, but the whole point of this would be to only have to stick "one thing" in my pocket on the way out the door.
Sjixxy: point taken! Another argument for the CL maybe ...
I might suggest opting for the Bessa + Leica lens option. The Bessa bodies handle nicely and aren't too expensive. That leaves more for the lens, which really is where you want to put your money.
And later down the road, you can still pick up an M body, should you really fall in love with rangefinder photography. And if not, you probably can recoup nearly all of your investment and maybe more if you get a good deal on the gear.
Hugh, you already shoot a Rolleiflex.
Why on earth spend good money on
a lesser camera? :-)
For your budget and pocketability, you
really should look hard at the Leica II
and Leica III screwmount cameras. They
are wonderful jewels built with precision.
You can buy a good user II or III with a
5cm Elmar lens for well under US$500.
And with the Elmar lens, which retracts
entirely into the camera body, the camera
tucks nicely into a trouser pocket.
An M-series offers some conveniences
that the IIs and IIIs lack, most notably
a combined viewfinder/rangefinder
that gives framelines for different focal
lengths. The IIs and IIIs frame for only
the 5 cm lenses (though the rangefinder
works for all lenses). But if you can
live with 5 cm lenses, the IIs and IIIs
are delights to use. And the results
from the Elmar can be spectacular. I
am attaching a favorite photograph of
mine, shot with a II and an uncoated
I have an M2 body I would consider
selling at your price. But you will have
to pry my II from my cold dead fingers.
I use a bessa R, there is no comparison between the two camera's. M's are a different tool. But to think of it, a rangfinder is a light box and that is it. The lens is what it is all about. The R's are LTM and the R2+ are M, mounts. I have a 25,35 and 50 as. I have the 35 on 80/90% of the time and i can not complain about the finished product on the paper.
The same all so go's for the 645 6x6 and so, use a tri pod and you'll get what you want. I to would like a M, M5 or 6ttl. May be one day, until then i have my bessa and it does a very good job of what i ask of it. It is very quiet may be not a M quiet, but the Bessa is not a M, so try not to compare it to one.
Hugh, if pocketability of the camera is important, I'd advise against a Leica M, and urge you to take a look at the CL instead - M cameras are pretty heavy to carry around, and whereas they are indeed rock solid in terms of build, they don't fit a coat pocket. In terms of lenses - M lenses are very good indeed, but how much sharpness, contrast do you really need? They are good, but you pay through the nose for that extra bit of performance. DOn't get stuck on the mythology surrounding the Leica Ms, you can really good performance from new Bessas, at a fraction of the price of a 2nd hand Leica M.
"We are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than think our way into a new way of acting." - R. Pascale
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
"As a stick-in-your-pocket and carry everywhere thing."
As others have recommended, if you really want to carry the camera in your pocket and stay in your budget, get a Leica screwmount, or a LTM Canon or similar, along with a collapsible lens or something small like a Voigtlander 50/2.5. I love Leica M cameras, but lightweight they are not, they are heavy duty photographing machines.
The lens is the most important part, but the camera itself is a vital part of the equation, and a properly functioning set suited to your purpose is valuable.
Last edited by jmcd; 03-01-2009 at 03:03 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Leica lenses are not the most contrasty lenses
Originally Posted by Kvistgaard
out there. My sense is that Leica balances out
its lenses for lower contrast, at least with the
lenses I have used. Contrast is not always a
good thing -- it can make it more difficult to
make a negative that holds shadow detail
without blowing out highlights.
One day I did a test shoot with a group of
5cm LTM lenses, each in pristine condition:
A Summar, a Summitar, and several versions
of the Nikkor Sonnars. The Nikkors as a group
blew away the Summitar and the Summar --
much finer detail, and more defined contrast.
The Leica lenses looked muddy by comparison.
But so much for tests. In the real world the
Leica lenses, to my eye, routinely create
visually interesting images. The more I shoot,
the less stock I put in objective measures of
look into a cl, or cle.
great camera. fixed lens.
Interchangeable Leica M-mount lenses, or Leica screw mount with M adapter. You need to be careful of collapsible lenses, which can damage the meter cell arm when pushed into the body. Some non-collapsible wide angles may present the same problem. Leica has some info out that recommends some Dymo (labelling) tape widths to apply to the collapsible barrel to prevent problems.
Originally Posted by mojobebop
The CLE has no metering display in manual exposure mode, and switching between auto and manual is a bit clumsy. The CLE also meters off the curtain in full frame averaging mode, whereas the CL meters a central spot. There are other differences in flash metering and in viewfinder magnification and framelines.
Last edited by Lee L; 03-01-2009 at 06:11 PM. Click to view previous post history.
If you're looking for wides keep the Bessa 4s in mind. They have framelines for 21/25/28/35/50. They're also more expensive though and I've heard they're a little hard to frame with a 50mm. I picked up a Bessa T at a camera show for 150$ and I've been using a Russian lens on it till I have the money for another. I plan on picking up the Voigtlander 21/4. If the external viewfinder doesn't bother you, then I would recommend looking into one as they have a meter and can be found for very cheap.