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  1. #1
    denmark.yuzon's Avatar
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    Leica M3 or Voigtlander Bessa R2A?

    After months of saving up, i finally came close (not that close, but close) to buying my very first RF. Im torn between these two great cameras.. i have a friend who is selling me his "like new" R2A, he bought it, and ran 2-3 rolls in it and stored away and never used it ever since.

    Is it still better to buy the Leica M3 provided i see one in mint and in great working condition or im better off buying a 3 month old Voigtlander Bessa R2A?

    I know it is Leica, the IQ is superb, but as well as the R2A, but, built-wise, will it still hold up and take some pretty rough use?

    investment-wise, is it a good decision to invest on leica rather than R2A?

    guys, i know they are not of the same league with each other.. but choosing between these two is quite difficult for a RF noob like me..

    thanks..
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  2. #2
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Worry more about the glass. What are you going to put on either of these cameras?

    There is nothing like an M3 or M2. However, I would go for the like-new Bessa...simply because it is so new and so cheap. You can always get a Leica later if you want, and the bang for the buck of the Bessa is higher.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  3. #3
    denmark.yuzon's Avatar
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    Thanks 2F/2F.. for the Bessa, it includes a 35mm f/1.4 Nokton, which is very sharp and gives outstanding photos as what my friend had showed me.. for the Leica M3, i plan to go with either the Summicron 50mm f/2, or whatever lens that comes with it that i can find that is affordable.. if it includes the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 for a reasonable price.. why not?..

    thats what im thinking.. get the bessa and invest on Leica lenses or voigtlander lenses.. but yeah, Bessa, from what ive read over the internet, is more practical in terms of investment since its cheaper and new and still made today.. after sales service is also a bonus, since here, camera repairmen wont dare touch a Leica..
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  4. #4
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    There are pros and cons for both. It's a bit like comparing a 1955 Rolls Royce with a 2009 Mercedes. The M3 is a classic, silky smooth and quiet in operation, built without compromise, and feels like it is absolutely indestructible. The Bessas are modern, efficient, have all the required features, and just get on with the job. I have an M3 (with a dual range Summicron) an R3A (with Nokton 40/1.4), as well as other Bessas and lenses. I find the R3A far more usable than the M3 and the main reasons are the TTL meter, aperture priority auto, and the clear bright 1:1 viewfinder. But the DR Summicron is incomparable....I could go on and on. It's up to you.

  5. #5

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    The M3 will appreciate in value and the Bessa is an unknown quantity over the long haul.
    For a bit of useless information in 1954 you could buy an M3 with a 50 Summicron for around $350.
    Fifty years later a user body is $600+. I doubt the Bessa will hold value like that.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  6. #6
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Koehrer View Post
    The M3 will appreciate in value and the Bessa is an unknown quantity over the long haul.
    For a bit of useless information in 1954 you could buy an M3 with a 50 Summicron for around $350.
    Fifty years later a user body is $600+. I doubt the Bessa will hold value like that.
    Scaling to the consumer price index, would make those 350 1954 dollars worth $2775 in 2009. So the 1954 Leica M3 has lost close to 80% of its original price in real terms, not appreciated. A good M3 single stroke was about $1200-$1300 in the late 70's through the mid 80's, so the prices don't just keep going up.

    As to the long term viability, an M3 would likely prevail there, being all mechanical and sold in large quantities with parts available in some form. The R2A needs electronics to work, and those are more likely to fail and be unrepairable than a mechanical camera.

    But the real value of any of any camera is in its ability to perform as the photographer needs. I'd say that anyone using either camera could get their money's worth out of them.

    Lee

  7. #7
    Peter Black's Avatar
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    I'd ask for a loan of the Bessa and run a film through it, since how the camera feels to the user is a big deal in getting pleasure from using it. I have an M3 which feels great, but I don't use it as much as I should. I can load it OK, but never forget that loading it is at least a nuisance compared to a normal 35mm like the Bessa. I'd also prefer a TTL meter rather than a shoemount or handheld, but again that is a matter of preference and I can't afford (OK, justify) a metered Leica as I have other alternatives.

  8. #8

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    Probably would go for the Bessa. The M3 is limited in view finder frame lines to 50mm, 90, and 135. Being a wide angle shooter you'd need an accessory viewfinder. Plus no incorporated meter. The M's a heck of a camera body but it's the glass that gets the job done.
    W.A. Crider

  9. #9
    arealitystudios's Avatar
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    For what it is worth, I own a Bessa R3A and wouldn't trade it for anything. Yes it is not a Leica, but I've put Leica glass on it and it takes pictures like a champ and the results are lovely.

    Strangely I hate shooting with Leica bodies. I borrowed an M6 from my boss years ago and that darn trademark red dot attracted all sorts of attention wherever I went. "Hey is that a Leica!?" people would constantly stop me and ask. I suppose if I needed the status symbol I would have loved the attention but ultimately I just wanted to be left alone to take pictures.

    So for my part I would prefer a cheaper and yet reliable camera body with the ability to use high quality Leica glass. The money you save on the body will give you the option to buy more lenses down the line should you want them.

  10. #10
    Uncle Bill's Avatar
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    Tough call, I am going to state I am a happy Leica M3 owner, with a 50 f2 'cron and a Gossen Profisix meter and I get perfect exposures every time. I do have a Voightlander R2a for the 35mm frame lines and have an AE body in my M mount kit that does not cost the moon. Anything wider, you can use an external viewfinder.
    "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
    Ferris Bueller

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