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Voigtlander Bessa Leica Mount Cameras Made in Japan by Cosina in partnership with Voigtlander, the many modern Voigtlander Leica Screw Mount and Leica M mount bodies offer inexpensive and often unique options into entering the world of Leica rangefinder photography.

View Poll Results: For Bessa owners. How do you use your camera now and in the future?
Bessa (any model) is my primary camera 29 24.79%
Bessa is my secondary or backup camera 43 36.75%
I do not use my Bessa much any longer 26 22.22%
I also own a Leica Screw Mount camera 35 29.91%
I also own a Leica M camera 58 49.57%
I also own a RF from another manufacturer 51 43.59%
If my Bessa breaks I intend to have it repaired 38 32.48%
If my Bessa breaks I will not repair it 15 12.82%
I can see myself buying another Bessa. 36 30.77%
The decision by Cosina to stop production makes me less positive about my camera. 10 8.55%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 117. You may not vote on this poll

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How do you feel about your Bessa?
Old 06-21-2016   #1
traveler_101
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How do you feel about your Bessa?

I have two Bessas - the R which is now my main camera and the T. I really like them and have been especially happy with my R. But I notice very little activity on this part of the forum and the decision by Cosina to discontinue the contemporary models has, surprisingly, taken some of the wind out of my CV sails. How do you feel about your Bessa now?
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Old 06-21-2016   #2
robert blu
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I'm happy with my Bessa R.
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Old 06-21-2016   #3
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Like Robert, I'm very happy with my R. I thought about an R2A and a screw mount adapter. I may do that. I'm carful using all my cameras, I'm very careful not to force anything with the R.
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Old 06-21-2016   #4
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Also happy with my Bessa R and it's my main camera now. It does what it's supposed to so there doesn't seem to be much to talk about it.
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Old 06-21-2016   #5
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Pretty happy with my R2. It gets along well with my m6.
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Old 06-21-2016   #6
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I respect my Voigtlander Bessas for having gone the road less traveled in configuration. I have an L... without even a viewfinder never mind the RF. I have a T... weird, it has a rangefinder but no viewfinder! And I have an R4a, which is unique in having framelines for lenses as wide as 21mm as well as 50mm. Each is unusual or even unique while serving a useful purpose. Kudos to Cosina!
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Old 06-21-2016   #7
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I've tried all the models over the years.
The R2 in Olive color is the one I've gone back to.
Have one now and like it quite a bit. The CLE f2/40mm is mounted.
Never had any issues although the Rewind crank looks a bit suspect in the R/R2 models.
The R2 feels like a bit more solid build than the screw mount R.

The R#/a/m models felt a bit chunky by comparison although I really did love the R3a 1:1 VF
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Old 06-21-2016   #8
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How do I use my Bessa now and in the future?
Well, let's see.
I currently use my R2S for taking photographs, and in future will use it the same way.
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Old 06-21-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
I've tried all the models over the years.
The R2 in Olive color is the one I've gone back to.
Have one now and like it quite a bit. The CLE f2/40mm is mounted.
Never had any issues although the Rewind crank looks a bit suspect in the R/R2 models.
The R2 feels like a bit more solid build than the screw mount R.

The R#/a/m models felt a bit chunky by comparison although I really did love the R3a 1:1 VF
Yes, the rather delicate looking rewind the crank on the R . . . The shaft seems to be metal but the handle is plastic and when it turns under pressure it feels like it could just snap. I take it easy. That is probably the worst part on the camera. On the other hand, the advance mechanism, of which I had read so many complaints, is smooth as butter (knock on wood).

Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
Like Robert, I'm very happy with my R. I thought about an R2A and a screw mount adapter. I may do that. I'm carful using all my cameras, I'm very careful not to force anything with the R.
I hear you. I am careful with it too.
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How do you feel about your Bessa?
Old 06-22-2016   #10
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How do you feel about your Bessa?

I own a Bessa R3m and I love it as well.
It is lightweight, does not feel too cheap though and the viewfinder is great (1:1 is my cup of tea).

One complaint I have is that the shutter mechanism locked a couple of times, the curtains remained open and the shutter release wouldn't work. I had to bring it to a skilled repairman who made it functional again but was unable to identify the source of the problem.

I heard that when you force the winding lever at the end of a roll that might happen. Unfortunately for me it happened in mid roll both times. I am a little afraid that will occur again every time I use it...

Still love the camera though. Cosina's decision to discontinue this product line is sad but I am guessing they will be plenty on the second hand market. Not a consolation, but that's something...
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Old 06-22-2016   #11
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I had a Bessa R and still have an R3M. I sold the R because I wanted to use the R3m more often. I sold the R and two SLR's because I just had too many cameras and wasn't using them often enough. I still have a Nikon FE2, Voightlander Vitesse, Cannon Elan 7,the R3m and a Brownie that I made into a pin-hole camera I have film in all these cameras except the Brownie. Sometimes it's a curse; what to use today.

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Old 06-22-2016   #12
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I traded my Bessa for the better Zeiss Ikon, sometimes regetting the plain Voigtländer's no frills.
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Old 06-22-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _lou_ View Post
I traded my Bessa for the better Zeiss Ikon, sometimes regetting the plain Voigtländer's no frills.
I did the same but no regrets as in many ways the Zeiss Ikon is the nicest film camera I have used. But of course it's really a Bessa under the hood...
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Old 06-22-2016   #14
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Over the years I've had a few R's, L's, and an R2. The R2 definitely felt more substantial. Currently I have just an L, dedicated to a CV 21f4 lens.
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Old 06-22-2016   #15
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I started my M-mount collection with a R3A, great camera, but I found a Zeiss Ikon was better for general shooting with wider range of lenses. So I replaced it with a R4M which makes for a great secondary camera with the wider angle lenses (21-28) loaded with a different film stock.
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Old 06-23-2016   #16
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My Bessa use fell off pretty sharply after I fell in love with my dual range 'cron, which fits neither the R3A I later sold, nor the T I still have. I've spent nearly a year now procrastinating on getting rid of either my M3 or my M6 TTL .85, plus I've got a good iiic w/ VC II meter, and the Bessa T just keeps getting dustier. Which is too bad, because Bessa T, SBOOI, and Summitar is a pretty great entry-level M setup.
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Old 06-23-2016   #17
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I have the R3A (my first RF and serious film camera) and the R4A. Love them both for the autoexposure + AE lock, accurate metering and versatile framelines. For 40mm, I finf the R3A nearly as compact as the leica CL and much less tempermental. I also really dig the shutter lock feature - save me a few blank shots each roll and doesn't slow me down at all (though I know some feel differently about this) ...
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Old 06-24-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harpofreely View Post
My Bessa use fell off pretty sharply after I fell in love with my dual range 'cron, which fits neither the R3A I later sold, nor the T I still have. I've spent nearly a year now procrastinating on getting rid of either my M3 or my M6 TTL .85, plus I've got a good iiic w/ VC II meter, and the Bessa T just keeps getting dustier. Which is too bad, because Bessa T, SBOOI, and Summitar is a pretty great entry-level M setup.
Ah, the struggle to make use of the cameras we have. My problem with moving up to an M3 (which i would like for the high build quality and great .91 viewfinder) is losing the meter. I like having the built in meter. I also think about the extra weight.

p.s. What is a "dual range Summicron"?
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Old 06-24-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawrence View Post
I did the same but no regrets as in many ways the Zeiss Ikon is the nicest film camera I have used. But of course it's really a Bessa under the hood...
Is it the Ikon built around the same basic body as the Bessa series?

In looking for a replacement door for my R, I noticed that other manufacturers, notably Ricoh and Nikon, built SLR models around this same Cosina supplied frame. I once read someone banging on about how the Bessas were not real RFs because they were built on a SLR body frame in which the mirror had been stripped out. Hence they are fake.

For me they are light and durable, simple and yet modern (metered). Of course, I have been lucky thus far not to have the problems with jamming of the advance mechanism.
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Old 06-24-2016   #20
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The Ikon has some similar dials / knob and film gate internals, but the shape is slightly different to account for the larger VF, wider RF base, and upside-down (on bottom) rewind knob, so it's not compatible with the same Bessa accessories (like the grip or trigger winder). It's super nice for the uncluttered framelines though, for shooting 28-35-50-85 (which I use to guesstimate a 90).
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Old 06-25-2016   #21
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R2s

Currently own the R2S with trigger winder and enjoy being able to use my S-mount Nikkors on a metered body.
No complaints here, other than, that all of the Voigtlander cameras have been discontinued.
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Old 06-25-2016   #22
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I have two R's and sold off my other cameras. I consider myself a minimalist. Carry a small camera bag with my two R's, one with a 50mm lens and the other with a 35. Most of what I do is with the 50. I does everything I want in a camera.
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Old 06-25-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
What is a "dual range Summicron"?
The DR Summicron is a special version of the version 2 rigid Summicron 50mm f2 lens. It has a selectable second focusing range down to approximately 20", and comes with a set of "goggles" to adapt the VF/RF to that close range. It is quite heavy due to the extended helix, and is almost certainly the most mechanically precise component in the Leica camera line, beautifully made. It will fit all film Leicas, although with the M5 and the M6TTL a little steadying tab has to be removed to clear the higher top. I'm not sure about its fit on the digital bodies. It really doesn't work on the Bessas and ZI cameras.



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Old 06-25-2016   #24
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Originally Posted by mynikonf2 View Post
Currently own the R2S with trigger winder and enjoy being able to use my S-mount Nikkors on a metered body.
No complaints here, other than, that all of the Voigtlander cameras have been discontinued.
One of the reasons I posted this poll was to see if the decision to stop production troubled other people. It knocked my confidence in the future of film to cease the production of Bessas. But it does not seem to have bothered many of us.

What is S-mount?
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Old 06-25-2016   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danwilly View Post
I have two R's and sold off my other cameras. I consider myself a minimalist. Carry a small camera bag with my two R's, one with a 50mm lens and the other with a 35. Most of what I do is with the 50. I does everything I want in a camera.
The minimalist - I really like it, and I agree that the Rs fit the bill!

Only thing: What in the heck did you do about the crappy coating on the backdoor of your Rs?
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Old 06-25-2016   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dez View Post
The DR Summicron is a special version of the version 2 rigid Summicron 50mm f2 lens. It has a selectable second focusing range down to approximately 20", and comes with a set of "goggles" to adapt the VF/RF to that close range. It is quite heavy due to the extended helix, and is almost certainly the most mechanically precise component in the Leica camera line, beautifully made. It will fit all film Leicas, although with the M5 and the M6TTL a little steadying tab has to be removed to clear the higher top. I'm not sure about its fit on the digital bodies. It really doesn't work on the Bessas and ZI cameras.



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Old 06-25-2016   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
One of the reasons I posted this poll was to see if the decision to stop production troubled other people. It knocked my confidence in the future of film to cease the production of Bessas. But it does not seem to have bothered many of us.

What is S-mount?
It is the mount used on Nikon rangefinder cameras & lens.

With the advent of digital photography, the end of the Bessa camera production was inevitable, IMO. In fact, I felt more surprised at the beginning of Bessa camera production than I did by the end of their production. I had questioned the wisdom of a start up film rangefinder camera as digital photography became dominant and at the same time admired the risk it took to introduce these "Limited Production" cameras.

My dedication to film photography has never been dependent on the continued production of film cameras (I have more than enough film cameras). Film photography is part of my DNA having used film from the very beginning of my photographic adventure and I will continue the use of film, for as long as I am able to find it. I consider myself blessed to have grown up during the film era and to also experience the beginning of the digital age
...
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Old 09-30-2016   #28
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I don't fully trust my Bessa R2a, the shutter has locked a couple of times and winding on has slipped. This has only been a couple of times in 4 years however. The viewfinder is better than my M6 in my opinion (no glare).
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Old 09-30-2016   #29
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Hi,

I own a bessa r3a and i´m delighted with it.

It is reliable, lightweight, it has AE and Ae block.

It is inexpensive.

I´d love to get me a r4a.
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Old 09-30-2016   #30
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I use four Bessas all the time, 5 or 6 years ago... Never had any problem. I prefer them to my Nikon SLRs and my Leica IIIf RD. No issue at all with my 15, 28, 35 and 40 either.
I thank Mr. K., Tom A. and the whole team for making my life a lot happier.
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Old 09-30-2016   #31
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I have held onto a couple Bessa Rs for the screwmount with meter capability. I also own the Bessa R2C for the same reason except of course for use with Contax lenses.

I was disappointed to see Cosina drop the Bessa line. I have never needed any repairs on the Bessa but I hope that there are sufficient parts stock around should repair become necessary.
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Old 10-02-2016   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
I've tried all the models over the years.
The R2 in Olive color is the one I've gone back to.
Have one now and like it quite a bit. The CLE f2/40mm is mounted.
Never had any issues although the Rewind crank looks a bit suspect in the R/R2 models.
The R2 feels like a bit more solid build than the screw mount R.

The R#/a/m models felt a bit chunky by comparison although I really did love the R3a 1:1 VF
I bought an R2 from a fellow RFF member for a good price knowing the rewind crank was already broken. I managed to fashion a temporary fix, which still holds up several years later! The knurled knob was off a penknife.

Voigtlander Bessa R2 by Philip McAllister, on Flickr
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Old 10-03-2016   #33
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My Bessa R4A has the 21mm "Super Angulon View" - for me the reasen to prefer this model against any Leica M. Together with the VC 21mm f4 a combo of tiny size but big output….

JU52 by deandare06, auf Flickr


L'arbre de heron by deandare06, auf Flickr

but scanning………. ;-(
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Old 10-03-2016   #34
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Absolutely loved my R2. It was my first rangefinder and ot totally hooked. Sold it now to switch to something smaller, a CLE. Eventhough I loved the Bessa, I wouldnt change back to it from the CLE.
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Old 10-03-2016   #35
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I have owned Bessa R and R2 cameras.
I sold the olive R2, to an RFF member IIRC.

Many M lenses cost more than I paid for my car.
I'm happy with just my humble black R now, with 35/2.5 Skopar.

I have added a Canon P with Canon 50/1.8 but still prefer the Bessa.

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Old 10-03-2016   #36
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I owned but sold a Bessa R and a Bessa R3A.

I still own and use a Bessa T and an R2A. My decision to buy the R2A was prompted by the announcement that production was discontinuing. I jumped and got a new one. It's been a great camera, really a poor man's M7. I've used it extensively over the last 18 months I've had it. Very pleased, although I did let the batteries run down and was caught flat footed at an event I wanted to shoot (my fault, though, not the camera's). The R2A has not had the RF alignment problem I experienced with the R3A I owned. The Bessa T is a great knock-about camera for vacation travel, as a second body.

I also own an M2, a IIIc, and a Canon IVSB2 among interchangeable lens RFs. I don't enjoy shooting the R2A any less than these other RFs. All of the black and white photos I've been posting on flickr from my summer Italy trip were taken with the R2A, combined with Leica, CV, and Canon glass. The camera performed like a champ.
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Old 10-03-2016   #37
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I like my Bessa R2C, one contax/kiev mount camera with light meter.
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Old 10-03-2016   #38
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Main camera is a Bessa R. Only downfall thus far is the rubber coating on back door became stickty but now it's almost warn off & is begining to feel nice. Love the VF over those I've seen from M Leica's.

Also have a Bessa L with the 25/4. It's an awesome camera. Very fun to shoot. Like the lightweight feel & not a problem to wear around all day. Good to see so many still shooting Bessa's

Tom A has a Leica month & a Nikon RF month. Be nice to dedicate a month shooting our Bessa camera's.
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Old 10-03-2016   #39
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I still have my R2A but haven't used it much the last year but no fault of the camera.. It is a smooth user and it does have a meter and a very accurate one at that. I really have to load it up and take it for a spin.
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Old 10-06-2016   #40
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Quote:
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Main camera is a Bessa R. Only downfall thus far is the rubber coating on back door became sticky but now it's almost worn off & is beginning to feel nice.
Sounds like a job for Flex Seal. Might be good for the Nikon F100, too. Ya-hoo!

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