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  1. #1

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    Bessa R for $180

    I'm interested in picking up an inexpensive rangefinder, and my daughter (17) is quite interested too. I have an old Pen EE that I let her play with and she loved the change of pace from her DSLR, and the "cool retro look".

    So I've come across a Bessa R for about $180 in very good condition but with no lens. I'm pretty new to the rangefinder world and wanted to get some feedback on whether that is a good deal or not.

    My daughter would probably not have the patience to work with a camera that didn't have metering built in so I'm hesitant to go for something that is completely manual.

    We would end up sharing it because I've recently been carrying around a Klasse and enjoying it a lot.

    Any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
    Pentax 67ii, Fuji GF670, Mamiya 6, Pentax 645N
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  2. #2

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    It's an excellent camera and a good place to start. With any Cosina Voigtlander Bessa, make sure that the rangefinder is in calibration vertically and horizontally. It's not terribly difficult to adjust yourself, but it's best if you have one that's correct from the start. This seems to be a thing that Cosina is unable to correct.

    Otherwise, it's a very nice camera. I owned one for several years and used it extensively for a couple of years.

    There's a review of it on my site.

  3. #3

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    I paid about $270.00 for my Bessa R but it came with a 50mm Jupitar lens and some other accessories. You could probably pick up a Jupitar lens rather cheaply from ebay or from Fedka (he is reputable). The Bessa R takes screwmount lenses. Good luck.

  4. #4

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    I agree with Taslim. A Jupiter would be a nice starter lens. Plus, there are a huge number of lenses available from Leica, Canon, Nikon and the former Soviet Union, as well as a good selection from Cosina.

    Cosina has produced a very good range of well-made lenses for the Bessa-R. In fact, you might almost be able to say that the Cosina lenses are better made than the Cosina bodies.

  5. #5

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    Good deal, good camera, assuming everything is working well and all that. I get a lot of use out of mine. The only real grounds to criticise it, I think, are that (1) the rangefinder base is kind of short, and (2) the materials and workmanship are appropriate for the price point, i.e., a significant cut below a Leica or even the later, more expensive Cosinae. I don't find either of these to be a problem in practice.

    About the Jupiter lens, be aware that many people think the Soviet lenses are not quite made to the same focussing standard as the original Leica mount---they seem to work fine at longer distances and/or smaller apertures, but focussing errors may emerge close up or wide open. It's hard to tell just how accurate this is, because there's a lot of sample variation in Soviet lenses anyway...and with all that in mind, you might do better to look at some of the less expensive Western or Japanese lenses for a starter instead.

    See http://www.cameraquest.com/ltmlens.htm for some quick summaries of a wide variety of Leica-mount lenses. Not everybody agrees with everything written there, but IMHO the page does a fair job of acknowledging differences of opinion.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

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  6. #6

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    Thanks for the helpful info
    I went ahead and bought it!
    I was also able to pick up a Canon 50/1.8 (type II) for about $100. It isn't in the greatest condition with a bit of clouding but the clerk and I looked at it closely and then looked at the diagrams for that lens and we're pretty sure it is on the element just behind the aperture ring which should be relatively easy to access so I'll be giving it a try.
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  7. #7

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    Honestly, if you're trying to stay cheap, I'd just go with a Jupiter 8 from a reputable place. I used one I picked up from Fedka on a Leica IIIc without any issues that bugged me - and I was quite happy with the shots I was getting out of it.

  8. #8

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    Hello,

    sorry if i borrow your thread for a question: is a bessa R with a voigtlander ultron 35/1.7 a good deal for 430eur?
    Thank you very much in advance!

  9. #9

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    I love my Bessa R. I wanted it for a long time, and I was really glad to get it. The viewfinder is better than any Leica IMHO. Just don't abuse it. I don't think they could take too much of a beating.
    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."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  10. #10

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    Bessa R for 180 usd thats good deal. When I spoke with Leica service guy the russian m39 mount are no different from Leitz (i.e. the focusing standard). There are some m39 lenses for Zenit and those have different distance from the focal plane. Russian lenses are often copies of german construction. The problem is the quality standard, but it not means that You can't find a good one.

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