View Full Version : Bessa Envy
Today I stopped at the local photo shop to drop off a roll of film. Since it was terribly hot in the car, I just carried my Bessa R with me. On my way out, one of the sales guys stops me and asks, "Is that what I think it is?" I replied that it was a Bessa R. He asked if he could hold it. To which I replied of course. He really oohed and awwed over it for a while. He commented on how great the viewfinder was and really enjoyed how easy it is to focus.
This photo shop doesn't carry any rangefinder cameras at all. Not even used ones. It really was fun to watch this guy get so excited over a camera he can't sell. One of the other guys commented that he wishes he could get his photography students to use cameras like these because they make you slow down and think about what you are doing.
I just smiled and walked out of the store feeling oh so proud of my precious little Bessa. Something like this has never happened to me before. What a cool experience.
Something that I wished would happen to me here in Singapore. I only get curious looks here.
I had quite the opposite experience last weekend. I was at a local fall fair, and was shooting with the Bessa R2. I was standing there with my daughter, when an old crusty guy walked over to me staring at my camera hanging around my neck. As he got closer, he asked if that was a Leica. Before I could even get an answer half formulated, he saw it wasn't, did an about face while he mumbled to himself something about having or had a Leica.. My daughter said to me, "What was that all about? Dude that was rude."
I though it was rather funny, since my daughter is 15, and teenagers just don't get the rude concept very well. Having that statement coming from her gives me much hope!
Maybe I just needed an R like Bubba, and not a R2? :D Or maybe his was chrome, while mine was black? :confused:
It has to be the chrome :D Gives it that classy elegant look.
I think more than anything else, is the fact that the guys at this photo shop mostly handle SLRs and don't get to put their hands on a rangefinder very often. I really think the guy was envious of me. I mentioned that I'm taking better pictures because the camera makes me think for myself. We talked briefly about how easy it is to just put your SLR into P mode and shoot without thinking. I know I have a long way to go (learning wise), but I also know that I have come a long way since having the Bessa. Not to mention, it is just flat out fun to shoot with.
when i went in to talk to my camera sales buddies about buying a bessa, they assumed i wanted at least the r2. when i said no the r, one of them said "you know it's SCREW mount right? you don't want the m mount???"
these guys are hip deep in cameras, including leica and the latest digital, so my interest an the r was quite the surprise.
This guy thought the R was an M mount. I told him it was a thread mount and he looked at me like I was missing out or something. I had to tell him that there is a lot of great glass in thread mount. Although, right now I am perfectly thrilled with the single lens I have (35/2.5). I promised myself that I was going to shoot with just this one lens for at least 6 months (maybe even a year). I really want to develop my skills. I think this will give me the opportunity to make my photography more intuitive. So far, after only shooting 4 rolls of film, I am already seeing some improvement in the way I see and take pictures.
All these comments make me feel better than when I read Gandy's dictum about certain people: "A good knowledge of cameras is the sign of a mispent youth."
Wise words... Now, let's get back to gear talk! :D
Bubba, that sounds like a fun experience for both you and the salesguy. Twenty years ago or so when my Minolta CLE was still new I walked into a small mall camera shop to look for a tripod. Sales guy came rushing over gushing about the camera. I regret to say I brushed him off and concentrated on the tripod issue.
Maybe then I was still recalling how I'd get this response back in 1970 and the next year or so as I went about on my Honda 750-4. A four-cylinder motorcycle was unique then, before Kawasaki put one out too. They'd come gather 'round as I gassed up with questions about how fast it was, etc. Got kinda old after a while.
Just a couple years ago I was much more patient with a salesperson at another mall camera store when I went in looking for a bag for my new Bronica RF645 kit. The guy had only just heard of it before, and was quite interested to see and handle one for real.
I have to admit there is something satisfying in having something recognized as unusual and interesting. :-)
Mostly I get funny looks about my Bessa L. The most common question I get is "How old is that?" A lot people assume the Bessa R is digital and get confused when they can't find the screen.
In contrast to the previous post I wrote above, I was in Boston the other day taking photos for the RFF book. I ran into one of the owners or sales people at Bromfield camera. He asked about the R2, and I let him handle it. He was impressed with the build quality and feature set, and said he was seriously considering buying one now. All he had hear previously was about the R, and didn't care for the plastic. I think the all metal build and robust feeling with the R2 surprised him based on his previous hearsay. We had a pleasant conversation, then I went on my way. He had a Vitessa in the window that caught my eye, but I left before temptation got he better of me.
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