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Bessa-R 35mm Rangefinder Camera


Voigtlander

Categories: Reviews: Equipment : Cameras : 35mm Film Cameras : Rangefinder Cameras

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8 Reviews  

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
 
Akiva Shapero
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/25/2006
4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
What can I say? A film based 35 MM Rangefinder that costs about 1/5 the price of a Leica but is about 80% as good. Do the math. This is a great camera with great optics. 100% viewfinder!!Exposure meter appears to be very accurate. Aperture priority or manual. back to basics and great photography.
8/10/2006 9:26:32 AM
 
Girmantas Bucas

member since: 5/30/2006
4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Good camera, good lenses
5/30/2006 5:06:28 AM
 
Akiva Shapero
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/25/2006
5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 5 out of 5
Solidly Built, aperture preferred and manual controls, classic look and feel.Rangefinders take a bit of getting used to, but then they become very user friendly. Pictures are super sharp. Back to basics with affordable quailty.
5/17/2006 11:57:31 AM
 
Jerald Z. Sims

member since: 6/14/2005
5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 5 out of 5
Love it!
6/29/2005 8:29:52 PM
 
Willy Maes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/30/2002
4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
RF camera, accepts old Leica lenses but has modern camera body, has excellent own lenses, very good viewfinder.
3/5/2004 2:04:50 AM
 
Ali Shah

member since: 12/10/2001
4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Nice camera....I use mostly for B/W shots.
8/4/2003 8:40:55 PM
 
Frans 

member since: 7/22/2003
4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 4 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 4 out of 5
The black body looks nice but is easily smudged with fingerprints wherever you touched it. The placement of the strap lugs is well chosen for heavier but when a lightweight lens is used the camera keeps flipping 45 degrees towards its back.
The 35/2.5 and 75/2.5 CV (Cosina Voigtländer) lenses I own are of excellent optical and mechanical quality.
The Bessa-R handles well and I have seen no mechanical problems yet.
I do not expect these cameras to last as long as my Nikon gear, but they might surprise me.

If you’re in love with Leica’s and the famous Leica build quality then buy a Leica and NOT Voigtländers. If you cannot afford a Leica or just want a very useable rangefinder camera that takes LTM (Leica Tread Mount) lenses with a built-in exposure meter then go for the Bessa-R and take the camera for what it is; a relative cheap body with a very nice range/view-finder and built in exposure meter.

Screwing the lenses on and off is often quite a time consuming job.
Frames have to be set manually on the Bessa-R.
The Rangefinder spot and framelines are very bright and do not flare.
The Bessa-R is very easy to focus in bright as well as in dark situations.
One of my R’s has (slightly) slanted framelines, enough to get slanted horizons when composing with respect to these framelines.
This I have seen with more R’s that I checked out so be warned.
You will have to position you’re eye very carefully in the centre of the viewfinder to be able to see the bright double image focussing spot.
Strangely enough, when the lens is set on infinity and you position you’re eye so that the focussing spot is clearly visible and then focus to the closest distance the focussing spot disappears and you will have to re-position your eye to be able to see it again.
No vertical rangefinder misalignment with either of my R’s.
The Exposure meter is easy and fast to use under ‘normal’ light conditions. 2 red arrows with a plus and minus in them and a red dot in the middle for correct exposure are clearly visible in the bottom of the viewfinder.
The exposure meter is almost as sensitive in the upper and lower part of the image as in the centre but not sensitive on both sides of the frame.
For shutter speeds below 1/8th (800 ASA) the exposure meter cannot be trusted anymore for correct exposures.
When photographing in low light-levels there is another problem with the exposure meter readout, the LED’s are far too bright under these conditions and the viewfinder can be completely ‘showered’ with a bright red glow and an almost blinding LED readout makes focussing very difficult.
The shutter itself runs smooth but has a high-pitched click not suited for shooting in quiet surroundings, also you can feel the body shake a bit when the shutter runs off.
Shutter noise is not excessive but a bit too loud for my taste.
The shutter speeds range from 1 second to 1/2000th and the flash-sync speed is 1/125th, which I like a lot.
A flash can be connected on a hot-shoe and via a PC connection.
No TTL flash, alas… this I miss dearly.
Winding is smooth but not ratcheted.
Loading and unloading film is very easy to do.
The film window is a very underestimated big ‘plus’ for this camera.
Film rewinding drags a bit.

7/24/2003 1:27:24 PM
 
doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras 3.5 out of 5 BetterPhoto Golden Cameras
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Bessas are a great way to get excellent optics in a tiny, easily portable package. If you are considering one of these, go for the Bessa R2, even if the R is currently available at bargain prices. The R2 takes Leica M-mount lenses. You can use any Leica thread-mount lenses, especially the excellent and affordable Voigtlander lenses, but you need a screw-to-M adapter. The problem with the R is that it accepts only the screw mount, and so M-mount lenses CANNOT be used.
Another point in favor of the R2 is that it is simply a more durable camera. Read more at cameraquest.com.
8/19/2002 8:56:59 AM
 

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