And I'll add that the Bessa is a very nice camera. You don't read about too many breakdowns of the Bessa aside from rangefinder misalignment.
Certainly, there are camera failures among each brand. But the Bessa series now have about 11 or 12 years of production among the various models, and there seems to be a lot of them still in use.
I still have one Bessa-style body -- the Rollei 35 RF, which is a slightly reworked Bessa-R2. Great camera. Slight misalignment of the rangefinder, of course. If only Cosina would spend some R&D and fix this issue once and for all.
I sold my Bessa-R to a friend of mine a couple of years ago. He's still using it.
I used the camera often from 2000 to about 2002. By that time, I was delving into the so-called classic cameras, which led me down a different path.
I have no qualms recommending a Bessa. They're a great way to get into the world of rangefinder photography. Terrific viewfinders. Simple film loading. Excellent line of lenses. Accurate and predictable metering.
I have an extensive review of the Bessa-R (and the Zeiss Ikon) on my site. I had to end commenting because of spammers.
well most point and shoots are rangefinders with the newest ones not even having viewfinders, I do own a Leica D-Lux 2 for family vacation pictures and to use at parties.
Originally Posted by donbga
But if you really are going to use a Digi camera for work you are fooling yourself to think digi range finder. you can get a nikon which will hold two 4 gig cards and shoot in raw faster than anyother camera till the next camera out does them. so Leica has been the name in film range finders forever, but I guess if you are rich and want a yuppie digi range finder I guess that is the way to go. I didn't even get a M7 even as good as they are because I wanted less electric on my camera so i got the M6. Just like my 2 1/4 I had a Rollie 2003 all electric and fully auto if I wanted but I traded it for a hassey 500 C/M and lesses. Love the fact there is no battery to charge or replace. Same with the M6 less battery for only the meter and still can use the camera without it and a hand meter. Just my thoughts and most time they are warped so please don't get mad. I just have a differnet outlook on some things. Most people don't see it.
What are your favorite lenses (focal length, not brand/model)?
Originally Posted by dxphoto
Firstly, your header says Leica M7 Alternatives- Then you quote Voigtlander. Voigtlander, is a camera system made at a price in Japan and would be a little like saying Mercedes S Class alternatives- Toyota. But seriously, if like many of us you are working to a tight budget, an M6 Classic 0.72+ 50mm Summicrom will give you all you need and more. Also you will soon find you don't need aperture priority, the M6 meter is so good such features will pale into insignificance when you see the results of the Summicron
Originally Posted by dxphoto
If by M7 alternative, you mean A-priority AE, then Zeiss Ikon. But the Bessas are very nice cameras as well - just be aware that they have slightly shortish effective baselengths and louder shutter and no 28mm frames (the R4 does, but it's a specialized wideangle camera).
If however, the AE isn't a big deal - the other used Ms come into play. M6 if you need metering, M4-P if you can live without. M4-2 or earlier if you don't need wider than 35 and so forth - the differences between the models are slim.
All of the reasons you give doesn't make it a point and shoot. It is a digital rangefinder, like the Epson R-D1 - perhaps a very expensive one and not worth the price, but that is a different issue.
Originally Posted by michael9793
There are many situations when AE helps, but one can do without it. As regards the lenses, I'd seriously consider CV and Zeiss lenses if budget were a concern - I have used almost every lens in the CV lineup along with a fair few summicrons and I can vouch for the CVs and the Zeiss lenses.
Originally Posted by kennethcooke
I object to the Bessa being referred to as 'cheap and cheerful'!!! It's certainly not 'cheap' - around £400 for a R2a - and it's not cheerful - the R2A has a very solid, metal body and does everything an M7 or Zeiss ZM does. It's all about what you put on the front of it.
Object all you want, but the analogy of the Mercedes to Toyota is a good one. Both are good cars, but they're in different classes. 400 pounds is a lot, but what is the M7 going for in the same market? I'm sure much more. You would be lucky to find a used M7 for twice that in the US. The M3, which I would consider a good alternative (as mentioned above by another user) sells for $1600 USD in EXC Condition in the US at places such as KEH.
If you want the Aperture priority, consider a Minolta CLE. They can be found for around $700 USD and a nice one will run you no more than $900. Cameraquest actually refers to it as THE cheaper alternative to the M7. Along with Aperture priority, it has TTL flash - far superior to Leica's (or NIkon's of the same era for that matter). I have one and use it regularly. It is just as sturdy as the Voightlanders if not more so, but it is NOT a Leica. If you need the durability and dependability of Leica, save up and get a Leica. Otherwise the CLE is a nice affordable option.
To shoot what? I use a Mamiya 7 when there is a decent amount of light. The 35mm rangefinder (Contax IIa) only comes out for low light shooting.
Each of these cameras has a different feel, and I always urge people to go to a store or find someone who owns them and hold the camera.
What some might like in a camera, others might find appealing.
I never had a problem with loading film in an M6, and I think the quality of construction was first rate, as it should be. I didn't like the release, and I felt the camera was a bit heavy, which provided for a very stable camera. That wasn't surprising, given the materials that are used. I felt the release point for the shutter button was too deep, so I bought a so-called soft release.
By contrast, I liked the Bessa-R and its light weight, but I didn't like the prolific use of plastic and the fact that the camera was unbalanced when it hung from my neck. The camera wanted to hang lens up, which was annoying because walking around with the camera forced me to always have one hand on it.
I've found the Zeiss Ikon to be an excellent camera ... for me. It's well built. The choice of materials is very good. It's a nicely balanced camera (no need to keep one hand on it). Not too heavy and not too light. I like the feel of the shutter release, although I wish it offered at least two manual speeds if the batteries die. For me, it's the Goldilocks of cameras.
But again, what each of us want in a camera is very individualistic. You can't beat a hands-on evaluation.
Bob, you still shooting the Bronica RF?