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  1. #1
    Tony-S's Avatar
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    Rangefinder newb: Questions about Bessas

    I'm wanting to get a 35mm rangefinder and for my budget it looks like it'll have to be one of the Bessas. I see there are a variety of these, R2, R3 and R4, with an A or an M after them. I have the impression that A is for auto exposure mode (of some kind) and M is manual only? I'd be very happy with an aperture priority and manual metering camera.

    Also, what are the differences between the 35mm f/1.4 and 40mm f/1.4 Noktons?

  2. #2
    Tony-S's Avatar
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    OK, it looks like M is a mechanical shutter that doesn't require batteries, while the A is electronic shutter that requires batteries, right? So now the question for me is what's the difference between the R3M and R4M?

  3. #3
    segedi's Avatar
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    Difference is the viewfinder. 3 is 1:1 and good for say 50mm. And 4 is for wide angle 21/25/28/35.
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  4. #4
    segedi's Avatar
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    I think the R3's have 35/40/50/75/90 framelines.
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  5. #5

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    http://www.cameraquest.com/voigtchart2.htm

    There is a lot of info on his page

  6. #6
    Tony-S's Avatar
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    OK, great info. Looks like the R3M is for me. Now, anyone know the differences between the 35mm and 40mm f/1.4 lenses?

  7. #7
    segedi's Avatar
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    R3 doesn't have the 35mm frameline but has the 40. I think an r3a might be what you are after, but not sure about using a 40mm lens. Would b perfect for a one lens setup but I prefer the angle of view of a 35mm and a 50mm myself.

    I have an r4a and I think you'll like th r3 better.
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  8. #8
    arealitystudios's Avatar
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    I can only speak from my experience here, but I have an R3A and I love it. It is probably my most used camera for street shooting.

    The R3A has an electronic shutter and aperture priority shooting. As far as my shooting style is concerned aperture priority is ideal when I want to work quickly. 90% of the time I am spot on when it comes to shooting outdoors with the sunny 16 rule, but having aperture priority is nice for indoor work.

    The R3A has frame lines for 40/50/75/90. When I bought my R3A it came coupled with a 40mm f/1.4 Nokton. It is a very nice lens and I would recommend it. Is it Leica quality? I suppose not but it has a distinctive quality of its own and it looks good in print.

    I have the multi-coat version of the lens but if I had to do it over again I think I would have purchased the single coat version. I find the contrast to be a tad high and I normally just compensate by developing a bit cold. Not a big deal.

    All in all I recommend the Bessa.

  9. #9
    Rob Skeoch's Avatar
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    I did own an R2A myself, now I have a Zeiss Ikon, but I sell the Bessa's at my retail store.
    If you're always shooting with wide angles get the R4A. You need the A version if you want "Aperture Priority" which is the only auto feature on the camera. The M version has no auto features.
    If you want to shoot with more than just wide angles than get the R2A. It has the framelines for the 35mm but not the 40mm. I find the 40mm a rather strange beast. It's nice on it's own and produces great quality but very few of the rangefinders on the market have framelines for the 40mm. So if you really start to enjoy the rangefinder work and decide to step up to a different camera it might not have the lines.
    -rob
    Rob Skeoch
    This is my blog http://thepicturedesk.blogspot.com/
    This my website for photo supplies...
    www.bigcameraworkshops.com
    This is my website for Rangfinder gear
    www.rangefinderstore.com

  10. #10
    arealitystudios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Skeoch View Post
    I find the 40mm a rather strange beast. It's nice on it's own and produces great quality but very few of the rangefinders on the market have framelines for the 40mm. So if you really start to enjoy the rangefinder work and decide to step up to a different camera it might not have the lines.
    -rob
    I think Rob makes a great point about the 40mm frame lines. For my part, the only other M-Mount camera that I own is a Minolta CLE which also has 40mm frame lines, so the Nokton was and is a good choice.

    I have noticed when shopping around for other Leica's (and drooling over cameras like an M7) that the 35mm frame lines are much more common.
    Last edited by arealitystudios; 06-13-2011 at 01:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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