Thanks for the replies everyone, I really appreciate the first hand advice. The only reason I would get the R3M over the R2M is because I don't think I would use the 35mm frameline and would just pick up the 40mm.
I was cruising the auction site and found a few M6s, what would be a fair price for a body in near mint condition? The reason I ask is because there is such a big range in prices that I am finding.
Also, I have began to look at the Zeiss Ikon again. Has anyone had any issues with the electronic shutter? Personally I would like to steer clear of an electronic shutter camera but if reliability is not an issue then I would be okay with it.
Finally if I were to purchase a used M6 what am I looking at in terms of a general tune up?
Mine being the screwmount R is probably the worst of the bessa models as far as build quality, I think the later models are improved and use metal parts for the body instead of the completely plastic R. My main issue with the R is the lack of smoothness in the film advance and rewind knob, the shutter speed knob feels like it will probably fall off some day, and the whole back panel flexes quite a bit. However, the light meter and the viewfinder are both excellent. The shutter sound is definitely no leica, it's only slightly less noisy than my Nikon FE, and a lot more chintzy sounding.
Originally Posted by tron_
I shoot mostly LF but I have an R2M which I drop in my briefcase when going on business trips. I use the 35mm f1.4 lens with it, and have been happy with both the results and the camera.
I know you hear a lot of stories about Bessas are great and Bessa are not robust. Everyone has their own standards based on what other equipment they use and what kind of money it's in their wallets. For me, the Bessa R2a was the first rangefinder. Without a direct frame of comparison I thought it was a wonderful camera and I enjoyed every minute of using it. After acquiring an M4, I can see why some people call the Bessa rough.
If you are happy with your Yashica, you'll be quite happy with the Bessa. The Besa might feel lighter, but the nicer VF will make it feel like a better camera in use.
I definitely don't expect the Bessa to be at the same level of build quality as the M6 or Ikon, I just want to be sure I am buying a camera that won't break on me haha. I am pretty good to my gear though, I don't plan on becoming a freelance foreign correspondant trying to cover conflict with this camera :)
Plus the Bessa is nearly half the cost of the Ikon or M6, that's a lot of money I can put towards some nice glass.
As you guys can see I'm quite torn as to what I should do :P
If you feel you're going to keep it "forever" and you've used RF and like the shooting style then suck it up and get the M6. If you think you'll only use it lightly and overall feel is not so important get the Bessa. The M6 you can sell for what you paid, maybe even more, and it will likely hold its value a while if not go up. The Bessa you might be able to sell what you paid for it but if in time they prove not all that sturdy then their price may drop over the years especially if Cosina introduces more rangefinder bodies later.
Originally Posted by tron_
I really like rangefinders, I enjoyed using my Olympus 35RC before it broke and I love the Minister-D. I don't use the Minister-D very much only because it was my grandfathers and I don't want to damage, break, nick, dent, scrape it since it has sentimental value.
The frustrating part is all these cameras have their own pros and cons. In an effort to help myself think more clearly, here's a list I made. And if anyone cares to know this is something I have been thinking about every night laying in bed before going to sleep for quite some time now :)
-Legendary camera with great resale
-Best build quality out of the three
-Proven to last
-Expensive considered it would be used
-Quirky film loading (not a huge deal, I think I could get used to it quickly but I just had to say)
-Would probably require a RF adjustment and CLA out of the box
-1/1000 max shutter speed
-Very good build quality (if not the same as the Leica)
-Dedicated 35mm and 50mm frame lines
-1/2000 max shutter speed
-Electronic shutter (on/off switch meaning no battery = no shot, that kind of weirds me out)
-Expensive (but then again it will be new, IIRC Zeiss still makes the silver ones new and the black ones were discontinued very recently)
Voigtlander Bessa R3M
-New camera (with warranty IIRC)
-1/2000 shutter speed
-Iffy build quality (from what I gathered)
-Kind of strange system where you have to select the frame lines manually
For each camera give each Pro aspect a numerical value from +1 to +10 of how important it is to you. For the Con aspects do the same but as a -1 to -10 as to how much of a problem this con might be to you. Add them up and divide by the number of pros and cons aspecfts for each to get your final average score. Go with the one that's highest.
The Zeiss Ikon is just in Black now, it was the silver model that was recently discontinued. The Black was the better seller by far.
Everyone has an opinion, some of them are even based on some logic. Buy what you think will work for you based on your needs and what you are comfortable with spending. If you are barely making the house payment, have a new kid on the way, or desperately need some transportation to get you back and forth to work, then you may need to be careful about what you get.
I use a Zeiss Ikon and love it, but I knew what I wanted when I bought it. I wanted the Nokton 50mm 1.1 and I wanted to be able to shoot it wide open outdoors. That means sloooow film and fast shutters. The film is easy, but the shutter wasn't. Based on my SLR experience with my Pentax 50mm 1.2 I knew that I needed at least a 1/2000 seconds shutter speed outdoors. Even faster is better yet but the fastest I could find was 1/2000 seconds. That immediately eliminated the Leicas. But I still wanted the best build I could get for the money. So I went for the Zeiss Ikon. The fact that it was new was also a plus, I was not dealing with someone else's screwups. I've done that before and survived it, but I didn't want to do it again if I could help it.
For me and what I wanted to do, my choice was pretty much made for me. And I love my camera and my lens. So far it is everything I expected. But the point is, the Zeiss Ikon may be the WORST choice you could make. I don't know because I don't know what you want to do. If you don't know, figure it out and you may find your choice has already been made. Just buy the very best that you can afford, that does what you need it to do. That helps reduce the chance that you will be disappointed. Maybe saving your money and buying an M3 is your best choice right now. You can usually get good used ones for $800 or a little less. A new Bessa will run close to the same anyway. The M3 doesn't have a built in meter, but there are certainly worse things in life. Add a decent little 35mm or 50mm lens, and spend some time to learn how to work with a rangefinder. Then later, when you can afford it, you can trade up and get that M6, or something a little nicer. Or you may decide that you really don't like rangefinders at all.
Like I said, think it through and get the camera that is best for you right now. And go shoot some pictures for crying out loud!!