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120 film RF Folders 120/220 Format Folding Rangefinders, including the various classic Zeiss Ikontas, Voigtlander Bessas, and their Ruskie copies.

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shooting with bessa rf
Old 05-27-2015   #1
john_pears
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shooting with bessa rf

I've just received a bessa rf in the post with a skopar and i am hopefully getting a bessa 6x9 without the rangefinder also with a skopar . I'm going on holiday to wales in two weeks time for 3 days for scrambling and taking photos of the monoliths and ancient monuments.
i probably won't have much time to use the cameras and develop the film before i go. i hope to be shooting some rollei 400s infrared film as well as foma . Im aware of the advice to wind film on only when about to take a photo , i will try and avoid using the 400 shutter speed as i have read that it can cause the camera to vibrate.
i mostly intend to use a tripod ( will i need a tripod socket converter ? i don't have my tripod at the moment) . hopefully i will get to test the shutter speeds with film before i go but for infrared this won't be critical as the b setting works.
does anyone have any advice about using ether infrared film in an old folder or just using a bessa in general as i won't have as much time as i would like to familiarise myself with it before going away
thank you
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Old 05-27-2015   #2
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Older cameras like this can have major variations in their shutter speeds, particularly at the lower speeds. Considering you want to shoot infrared you should at least try these speeds out on film and look at your results before leaving on holiday expecting your equipment to work. Or find someone with a shutter tester.

I have Bessa II cameras with the Skopar and the Heliar and they are terrific performers.

I wouldn't worry about winding on or not winding on the film unless you intend to leave film in the camera overnight. Normally getting 8 shots finished in a day is not too difficult.

As for shutter vibration at 1/400 seconds, that sounds like one of those cute little internet rumors. Vibration like this is normally associated with SLR mirrors flopping up an down, not leaf shutters. I suppose there could be some, though I doubt it, but your shutter will be closed long before it would have any effect on the photograph. Usually the effects of shutter (or mirror) vibrations are most visible around 1/30 to 1/60 seconds. Using a tripod will help dampen most vibration anyway.

Test the shutters before you go and enjoy your trip.
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Old 05-27-2015   #3
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Until now I experienced only once that the shutter of a folder caused tremendous camera shake. This was with the Compur on a Rodenstock Clarovid II when shooting at 1/250. So not entirely a myth.

You should however have no problem with your Bessa.

Enjoy !
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Old 05-28-2015   #4
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I shoot with a Bessa RF with nary a problem at any shutter speed. It is easy to close the back door without having the windup key fully seated so watch out for that.
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Old 05-28-2015   #5
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They are wonderful cameras.

A very cold day hike into the mountains earlier this spring with my Bessa II Heliar resulted in this photograph along with some others.

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Old 05-29-2015   #6
john_pears
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thank you all for your advice and dispelling the rumours about shake at the high shutter speeds , i try my best to get a chance to test shutter speeds before i go might have to use an app rather than test with film.
i have already come across the problem with wind key when camera fondeling, might have to put a note on the camera back about that one as i can see myself forgetting when changing film in the field.
all this advice has been great and thank you for the photo showing me what results i can expect should everything go well
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Old 07-07-2015   #7
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well i finally got round to developing my film and scanning it in can't wait till i have everything so i can actually print them.
only used the none rf bessa when we did the snowdon horseshoe but it was all pretty much shot at f8 as the came had a marking saying 6m-infintiy





when shooting the bessa rf i occasionally had problems with sharpness in the left had side which i assume was to do with the struts locking out the lens properly i think this was exacerbated by placing a hood on the camera lens. any suggestions about what to do about this? photo below demonstrates this well
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Old 07-07-2015   #8
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I used to have a Heliar bessa rf.
Consider sending it in for a clean up and adjustment (CLA) service if you plan to use it again. This should take care of the problem above.

But... aesthetically speaking, I like the last photo a lot
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Old 07-07-2015   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
I used to have a Heliar bessa rf.
Consider sending it in for a clean up and adjustment (CLA) service if you plan to use it again. This should take care of the problem above.

But... aesthetically speaking, I like the last photo a lot
These photos made me dig up my Bessa I. I've got the lowly Vaskar 4.5, but the camera is so beautiful/mint I'd love to get a CLA for it, as I remember the transport mechanism is busted. Anyone you'd recommend for the CLA?
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Old 07-07-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awbphotog View Post
These photos made me dig up my Bessa I. I've got the lowly Vaskar 4.5, but the camera is so beautiful/mint I'd love to get a CLA for it, as I remember the transport mechanism is busted. Anyone you'd recommend for the CLA?
My bessa was sold to Stephen -- Cameraquest boss and the bartender here on RFF -- I think he has his own technician who service cameras, you may ask him.

Another option is to send it to Garland Camera (http://www.garlandcameraandrepair.com), call and ask to speak with Jim Richeson and see if he'll service a Bessa RF. He serviced a few of my old cameras.
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Old 07-10-2015   #11
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John, I had a similar focus problem on an Ensign Selfix folder, and the cause was that the shutter retaining ring was loose.

I have a RF Bessa with Heliar. I also had a Bessa I with Color-Skopar, and the Skopar was a little sharper than the Heliar, but I sold it because I already had an Ercona II with a just as sharp Tessar.
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