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View Full Version : Newbie RF Question: Leica M6 vs. Bessa R3A


n8b
08-19-2006, 06:20
Hello,

I'm totally new to RF and I'm looking at two camera's right now and I wanted to know what you guys think between the two: Leica M6 (classic, used, good shape) vs. Bessa R3A.

Thanks!

Fred
08-19-2006, 06:51
Welcome to the forum!

It's an interesting question you have. To answer it you need ask yourself a few questions first;

1) Do you wear glasses?
If yes then the 40mm framelines of the R3a 'might' be hard to see. The R2a is and option for some glasses wearers..
2) What lenses are you intending to use?
The classic line up considered by some is 35, 50, 90. The M6 has framelines for all of these. The R3a widest is a 40mm frame. R2a has 35mm
3) Do you want automation?
The R3a/R2a has aperture priority auto, the M6 does not.
4) If you wish to shoot a 90mm close up and wide, the M6 will be more accurate to focus due to longer RF base length.

There are a number of other differences that may or may not matter, the M6 is heavy, the shutter is also a lot quieter. If your concerned about battery dependancy (I'm not) the M6 works without batteries.

Flyfisher Tom
08-19-2006, 07:05
Welcome :)

Tony gave you some very good advice so far. Some additional information and good reading can be found at :

www.cameraquest.com

There is a review of all the M bodies, as well as the R2A and R3A. good luck

Benjamin Marks
08-19-2006, 07:13
I'd like to add that there are other qualitative differences between the cameras. The M6 is a design that has been around a long time (1980's? someone help me here). There are differences of opinion about which Leica M camera is the most durable. I have had an M6 since 1993 and it has seen a lot of use -- it has been extremely durable. I bought mine used and have put more cycles on the shutter than many cameras are rated for new. The R2A and R3A have been around for a couple of years only -- there is no long term data about reliability. I'm sure folks will offer you advice about the relative robustness of the two cameras. For my part, and if money were no object, I'd buy the M6 in a heartbeat. Good luck with your choice.

Ben

Ted Witcher
08-19-2006, 07:36
I have both, and both have advantages, though my ultimate preference would be for the M6TTL. On the R3a, the 1:1 viewfinder is quite nice to use, particularly on the long end, say 75mm. The patch is large and the viewfinder presents the 75mm framelines exclusively, no pairs (in fact, all the framelines exclusively). It also has aperture priority, which came in handy last week when I was shooting a bullfight in Madrid, and a faster top shutter speed, also handy if you like working wide open in a lot of light as I do.

The build quality of the Leica is superior, however: I think it's always useful to have a seemingly benign tool that can, in a pinch, double as a weapon. Loading is much faster and easier -- fewer missed shots in the field for me -- and the shutter is significantly quieter. I wear glasses and can comfortably get down to 35mm in the viewfinder (.72 version), 28 if I absolutely had to.

Between these two, it's a bit of a toss-up if the prices are similar. If you have a shot at an M7, however, that would be my choice.

n8b
08-19-2006, 07:37
Welcome to the forum!

It's an interesting question you have. To answer it you need ask yourself a few questions first;

1) Do you wear glasses?
If yes then the 40mm framelines of the R3a 'might' be hard to see. The R2a is and option for some glasses wearers..
2) What lenses are you intending to use?
The classic line up considered by some is 35, 50, 90. The M6 has framelines for all of these. The R3a widest is a 40mm frame. R2a has 35mm
3) Do you want automation?
The R3a/R2a has aperture priority auto, the M6 does not.
4) If you wish to shoot a 90mm close up and wide, the M6 will be more accurate to focus due to longer RF base length.

There are a number of other differences that may or may not matter, the M6 is heavy, the shutter is also a lot quieter. If your concerned about battery dependancy (I'm not) the M6 works without batteries.

Thank you. It's nice to be apart of the forum.

1) No glasses- so the R3a should be good
2) Right now I was thinking about the 40/1.4 Classic Nokton SC for my first lens and perhaps a 50 or 75. Why would you go with a 35 over a 40? If I ever wanted to go wider would it still work on the R3a?
3) Automation is nice to have when needed. I would like to have the option of doing both. M6 is out on that point.
4) I'm not familiar with base length- What is it? How does that effect your focusing?

I'm not really worried about battery dependency. I'm sure I can buy a few and keep them in my bag.

Thanks for that quick input. I think I will go with the Bessa (a bit easier on the bank account for right now)- now I need to decide between the R2a or R3a. So If I got a the R2a would the 40mm work on it and will the 35mm work on the R3a?

Thanks!

Ted Witcher
08-19-2006, 07:42
The 40 is a good lens, that was the first one I bought. I sent it back for a 50, however, because I thought it was something of a "tweener": not wide enough to be wide, not long enough to be a "normal" perspective.

n8b
08-19-2006, 07:47
Wow, thanks for all that input. Now I need to decide....

Flyfisher Tom
08-19-2006, 07:56
So If I got a the R2a would the 40mm work on it and will the 35mm work on the R3a?

Thanks!

Yes and Yes. If you use the 40 on the R2A, simply manually turn the frameline selector to the 35 position (the 35 frameline is an excellent approximation for the 40mm).

Likewise, with the 35 on the R3A, use the 40mm frameline.


The R2A/R3A are really great cameras, you will not be disappointed (and I say this as a Leica M6 owner as well). cheers

ferider
08-19-2006, 08:17
4) I'm not familiar with base length- What is it? How does that effect your focusing?

A longer baselength make focusing longer and faster lenses more accurate.

If you like 40mm or 50mm as a main focal length, and have no
glasses, the R3a viewfinder is really amazing and the way to go. If you
like 28mm more, the R2a is a better choice, IMO.

Welcome, BTW.

Roland.

n8b
08-19-2006, 08:26
Yes and Yes. If you use the 40 on the R2A, simply manually turn the frameline selector to the 35 position (the 35 frameline is an excellent approximation for the 40mm).

Likewise, with the 35 on the R3A, use the 40mm frameline.


The R2A/R3A are really great cameras, you will not be disappointed (and I say this as a Leica M6 owner as well). cheers


What do you all think about the 50/1.5 Aspherical Nokton and the 35/1.7 Aspherical Ultron for a couple starter lenses? Anyone recommend the 40/1.4 Nokton SC?

What accessories have you found invaluable on your RF cameras?

I really appreciate all the help so far!

Thanks!

Flyfisher Tom
08-19-2006, 08:59
I happen to think the Nokton 50/1.5 is :

1) not as big as some people think it is;
2) has rather pleasing bokeh contrary to some opinion;
3) a great value compared to other alternatives (namely pre-asph lux)

I've never used the 35/1.7, but if you search for RFF member "Peter" (Voigtlander Mann), he uses it to great effect. I haven't heard anything bad about it.

A lot of people like the 40/1.4. I think it is an excellent lens from 2.0 up. I don't happen to like its performance at 1.4 (this is very subjective, vignetting, slightly harsh bokeh), which obviates the need for the lens in my opinion. Especially with alternatives like the 40/2 cron and 40/2 rokkor-m. But if you need 1.4, you need it ;)

I'd go with the 50/35 combo for more versatility. I think the 50 Nokton is an underappreciated lens.

good luck

Fred
08-19-2006, 10:50
What do you all think about the 50/1.5 Aspherical Nokton and the 35/1.7 Aspherical Ultron for a couple starter lenses? Anyone recommend the 40/1.4 Nokton SC?

What accessories have you found invaluable on your RF cameras?

I really appreciate all the help so far!

Thanks!

I think its good that you are looking and taking in plenty of views from people here.

I also think that it makes a lot of sense going for the Bessa over the Leica at this time given that the funds are limited (as with all of us) along with the AE option.

The choice between the R2a and the R3a is really down to what lenses you wish to use. I do have the Ultron 35 and love this lens, it was my first 35 RF lens and now sits most of the time on my Bessa R, the VF is similar to the R2a in this respect and the framelines are good even with glasses, the outer frame is said to be good for the 28 field of view. The R3a in comparison has a wonderful 1:1 view of the world but the 40mm frames are close to the edge, no good for my sight with glasses unfortunately, I nearly bought one of the
first.

From a personal point of view I prefer the 'look' of the 35 Ultron over the 40 and for me the 40 is a tad too close to the 50 to justify another 'standard lens'
. For versatility of lenses (without the need to use an external finder) the R2a does it for me. All the CV lenses are good IMHO having the 15, 21, 25 Skopar, 35 Ultron, 75 (favourite lens) and the lovely 90 Lanthar.

For starters I'd go for the 35 and 75 set up for a first RF, but thats my opinion.

Good luck with the search.

Terao
08-19-2006, 11:04
Well I'm an rf newbie as well. Can't comment on either of the bodies but can on the 40mm Nokton. Coming from the SLR world (Nikon) I'm amazed at the build quality of this lens, its a pleasure to use (love the focus tip for example). Its my only lens so far and I've been using it on the Epson R-D1 so it becomes a ~60mm - a more sensible focal length perhaps. It took me maybe 5 minutes to get used to the way it handled.

I've used it all day for landscapes - hardly the job it was designed for but I haven't decided on a wide-angle lens yet. There'll be some shots (nothing special, just me getting used to my new camera) up at http://photos.kiloran.com shortly. I particularly like the B&W of the signpost.

Suffice to say that the camera/lens combination produces better shots than I ever got out of my D70/18-70mm combo (which uses the same sensor)...

Fred
08-19-2006, 11:16
Welcome Terao,

The RD-1 shold be fine for landscapes however the choice of wider angle lenses is at least more affordable than some, my CV 21 and 28 Skopar are tiny and should work well with the RD.

Terao
08-19-2006, 12:55
Welcome Terao,

The RD-1 shold be fine for landscapes however the choice of wider angle lenses is at least more affordable than some, my CV 21 and 28 Skopar are tiny and should work well with the RD.

Thanks, was actually thinking of going super-wide, probably the CV 12 (seems to have less vignetting than the 15 on the R-D1). 21mm Skopar is a definite and will be the one most commonly attached to the camera. I think those three will do me, I've never been a big telephoto fan (or had a requirement for it) and I've read about the issues of getting the longer lenses focussed...

Terao
08-19-2006, 12:58
Favourite one from today:

CV 40mm f/1.4 @ f/16

Flattens the perspective quite a bit, that's a very steep slope in front of me...

http://images2.fotopic.net/?iid=yxmguq&outx=600&noresize=1&nostamp=1&.jpg

pcfranchina
08-20-2006, 05:58
The 40mm is an awsome lens but the framelines can be a prob. I don't where glasses and its still rough to see. My combo is a 40, 75 and an I61 50mm.
The CV 75 is awsome!

Justin Low
08-20-2006, 06:29
If you ask me, I don't find the R3a to be that appealing. I don't particularly like AE; I find using an incident meter much easier and it gives me consistently good results.

I also don't like the viewfinder lighting up. The LEDs in the Bessas are really bright, and can be blinding when you're shooting at night. I have a R2 that I use without batteries.

I would suggest getting a used R2. The money saved could go towards a lens or a handheld meter (I recommend a Sekonic L308).

peter_n
08-20-2006, 08:42
I think 40 is too close to 50 to pair them. A 40 and a 75 would make a good pair though. Since I see the 50 as a short telephoto I think the best lens to use with it is the 28. CV make two, both excellent; an f3.5 and an f1.9. It doesn't get any easier does it? ;)

Welcome to the forum BTW! :)

n8b
08-23-2006, 14:06
Ok, I had totally made up my mind to go with a Bessa R2a with the 35/1.7 Ultron. Then I had to walk into a camera store in Chicago and saw the Leica M7. I got to hold and play around with the M7 for a bit and it was quite amazing. So now I've been obsessing about a Leica. I've never been able to use a Bessa to compare. I just can't get it out of my head.

Soo, I guess I have a good case of Leica lust- HELP!



Thanks!

rxmd
08-23-2006, 14:09
If you like the M7, take a good look at a Hexar RF, too. Good finder, solid construction, good metering and AE and costs about the same as a new R3A. I'm torn between considering a R3A, Hexar RF or, totally different, an EOS 10D or 20D as my next camera.

Philipp

n8b
08-23-2006, 17:35
I've shot with the 20D and it's a very nice camera. I would recommend it.