View Full Version : Newbie Question on Bessa
I am thinking of buying a Bessa RF kit. I am new to RF but has been using SLR for couple of years.
1) Which is a good Bessa Kit to purchase R2A or R3A?
2) I like wide angle lens 21-28mm?
3) Does the VG lens needs adapter to Bessa R2A or R3A bodies?
4) I am a little confused of what the frame lines used for? Do I have to get View Finder for different lens? I noticed in Leica model, they have .52, .72...what are they used for? Do they have such features in Bessa?
You ask a lot of good questions.. The easiest to answer is the R3A or R2A one. If you like wide angles the R2A viewfinder will give you more choices. It has a 35mm frameline whose outside edges probably come close to a 28mm field of view.
The R3a's widest frameline is 40mm, and it's outside edges are most likely a 35mm field of view.
You might want to go to www.cameraquest.com
There is alot of information on rangefinders and the Bessas there.
Here are some quickie answers to get you started:
Which is a good Bessa Kit to purchase R2A or R3A?
Either is good. They are basically the same camera except for the viewfinder (see below.)
Because RF cameras tend to last a long time, there are also good used cameras available. For example, you might find a Bessa R2, which is somewhat like the R2a except that it has a mechanical shutter instead of electronic. The bad side of that is that there is no auto exposure; the good side is that the camera will operate without batteries.
I like wide angle lens 21-28mm.
There are lots of good lens choices in this range. One thing you will like about using an RF camera is that it can focus super-wide lenses much more accurately than an SLR.
With an SLR, using a super-wide reduces the size of objects seen through the viewfinder, making it harder to see when the picture is in focus. With an RF, you are not focusing through the lens, so you can be more accurate.
One slight irritation about using super-wide lenses on an RF is that most cameras have no frame lines for them (see below for an explanation of frame lines.) Instead you have to use a small auxiliary viewfinder that mounts on the top of the camera. If you buy a Cosina-Voigtlander super-wide lens new, it will usually come with the viewfinder you need. If you buy another brand of lens or a used lens, you may need to buy the viewfinder separately.
Does the VG lens needs adapter to Bessa R2A or R3A bodies?
I'm not sure what you mean by "VG lens," but the R2A and R3A can use any lens with a "Leica M mount" directly. They also can use any lens with the older "39mm screw mount" by means of an adapter. This means there are thousands of different lenses you can use on these cameras.
I am a little confused of what the frame lines used for?
The reason you need frame lines with an RF camera is that, unlike with an SLR, you do not view through the lens! Instead you use a separate optical system (the rangefinder/viewfinder) to focus the camera and see what will be in the picture.
An RF camera with a non-interchangeable lens needs only one frame line to show what will be in the picture. Obviously, if you have interchangeable lenses, you need different frame lines to show what the different lenses will see.
Each rangefinder camera model has a selection of framelines for commonly-used lenses. For example, the Bessa R2a has framelines covering the viewing angles of 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm lenses. (You choose which frameline you need via a small control on top of the camera. This is also handy for previewing what a different lens would "see.") The Bessa R3a is similar except that its framelines cover 40mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm lenses.
Other RF cameras may have different frameline choices, and very old ones have no framelines at all -- just a fixed viewfinder field covering the normal lens only. With these, you need an auxiliary finder for any other lens you might use.
Do I have to get View Finder for different lens?
If you want to use a lens for which your camera has no frame lines, you will need an auxiliary viewfinder. This is often the case with the super-wide lenses you like to use. It would be very difficult to build a super-wide viewfinder into a camera without making the camera very large. So, lenses such as a 12mm, 15mm or 21mm always require an auxiliary viewfinder.
I noticed in Leica model, they have .52, .72...what are they used for? Do they have such features in Bessa?
These numbers refer to the magnification of the viewfinder image. For example, the Leica 0.52x model has a viewfinder that shows the image at 52% of life size. The 0.72x model shows the image at 72% of life size.
A viewfinder with higher magnification makes it easier to see the subject, but it also means that the finder can't cover as wide an angle of view. This can make wide-angle framelines harder to see, especially if you wear glasses.
The two Bessa cameras have a similar feature: The R3a has a 1x viewfinder (the image seen through it is the same size as seen by your eye; this allows you to use the camera with both eyes open.) The R2a is similar except that it has an 0.7x viewfinder (the image is shown at 70% of life size.)
The R3a finder gives a larger image, but many people find it easier to see the wide-angle framelines with the R2a finder. Which one works best for you will be a matter of preference.
Hope that makes things a bit clearer! As advised above, there is a lot of information on rangefinder cameras in general, as well as about the specific Bessa models, at the CameraQuest website here. (http://www.cameraquest.com)
Great post jlw!! And welcome to the forum Ron! :) I read the above posts fairly quickly so I don't think it was explicitly mentioned, but the R3a has aperture priority automatic exposure, and the R2a has manual exposure. Both cameras have a standard Leica "M" bayonet lens mount and can accept both M mount lenses and LTM (Leica thread mount) lenses with an adapter. The R2 that jlw mentions also has an M mount, and the R has an LTM mount, and will not accept M lenses. Though both discontinued, the R2 and R are still available new.
Originally posted by peter_n
[i]... the R3a has aperture priority automatic exposure, and the R2a has manual exposure.
Newbie here. I'm confused. I thought the R2a *and* the R3a had aperture priority and manual exposure modes. Am I missing somehting?
Also, I'm leaning toward the R2a, as I like wide angle lenses. But, if I get the 40mm f/1.4, which frameline would I set on the R2a body for the most appropriate viewing? Thanks.
Originally posted by jpmccormac
Newbie here. I'm confused. I thought the R2a *and* the R3a had aperture priority and manual exposure modes. Am I missing somehting? No it's me that's missing something... too early in the morning without coffee but the R2a & R3a have both manual and AP auto modes. Mea culpa. :o
a definate must is to check :
both have a wealth of knowledge on rf cameras....
and a shameless self promotion, if you find that you are interested in a bessa r i have one for sale in the classifieds
Originally posted by jpmccormac
Also, I'm leaning toward the R2a, as I like wide angle lenses. But, if I get the 40mm f/1.4, which frameline would I set on the R2a body for the most appropriate viewing? Thanks. Hi-- Good to see you in RFF... Am I making the connection correctly that you've posted lists of "surplus" gear, including bellows with enlarging lenses, on the M42 and/or Pentax elists? As you may have noticed, gear flows freely here!
Anyway, I'd set the 35mm framelines on the R2a for the 40mm lens and figure on not capturing anything outside those lines. Ordinarily, there is some margin of error recorded outside of framelines as they're not all that precise. So with a 40mm lens on 35mm framelines I'd avoid framing the scene tight and it should be fine.
If you used the 50mm framelines, you'd be getting quite a bit more in the picture than shows within the frames: the extra angle of view of the 40 + the usual margin of error.
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