View Full Version : Bessa T reviews / comments ?
Anybody have any experience good / bad /otherwise with the Bessa T ?
I am considering one as a back-up for my Barnack cameras...
The selection of CV lenses is mouth-watering !
Fantastic camera if ever I have used one. Most of my recent shots are with it. I have actually started enjoying the external finder - it frees me from the tyranny of precise focusing when I have to work quickly on the street. The externally visible meter is a great advantage - the only drawback is the loud Bessa shutter.
I really like the "T", but I'm not sure it has much of a following. I think it's a great street shooter with the external meter diodes that let you set the exposure without raising it to your eye. It does require an external finder, which bothers some people, but not me. I use a Russian-made turret finder that covers 28mm-135mm that I got on eBay for $75 in fine condition. It also has a high magnification focuser, 1.25x I think, so it's easy to focus fast lenses wide open. It's been discontinued but still available from Camerquest and elsewhere.
P.S. Oh yes, lest we forget, it's incredibly inexpensive at $189! What a deal.
I sold my T, but that was because I just didn't see myself using it and, my purpose for it was with WA lenses, for which I bought an R4. That said, I thought it was a very nice camera. It is well built, the meter is accurate, VF is clear and not as squinty like your Barnacks, though not large. I would do it again if not for the R4 which for me was a better solution.
Oh, you are on a very slippery slope...:eek:
I should know, b/c two months ago I did the very thing you are contemplating: bought a (really nice, black) bessa T from another member, as a back-up camera to my Canons. Then, I saw this really nice looking 50/3.5 coated Elmar on eBay and thought "well wouldn't that be a neat lens to use w/ the T?" and got it for a good price... and then there was the case, and a finder...
OK, to answer your question: I am still learning the ways of this camera, but its small size and light weight make it a handy second body. I took it w/ me for this purpose on a recent trip to Yosemite. I mounted a 28 on it and kept a 50 on my Canon P, and enjoyed not having to stop and change lenses. The one catch has been the accessory shoe, which can become a little loose; and you also need to be a little careful in stowing the camera w/ the accessory finder on. But I think it may serve well as a lightweight travel camera, on its own as well as as a backup. The body is not much larger than a Canonet QL17 GIII, but of course can use LTM or M mount lenses. A T w/ a 40 Rokkor, Summicron, or CV... THAT would be a nice travel combo!
A number of members here have the T or have had it, and it's been generally well reviewed. They may be able to speak from greater experience than I can.
I have the "L" which is quite similar, and love it. Steve is right! .... Watch your footing!
I have now arranged to buy an R3A ... and I thought that Leica's were it... Need a case now .... Oh, no
I went with a T when I got back into RF photography and did not want to use my Ms (M4-P, M6c). I used it for about six or seven year and LOVED IT. It has a big enough EBL on the RF that I could use my longer faster lenses (e.g. 85/2, 90/2, 105/2.5, even 135/2.8) without worry. It takes a winder which allowed me to hang it from it's right side over the right shoulder, the best way to carry a camera.
I'm cutting back cameras (have been trying to over the past two months) and will be parting with most of my Besssas and the M6c some time soon. I have never had any problem with my Bessas, they are wonderful cameras.
I wish we would see a T2A/M because lots of folks love shooting with lenses longer and faster than the RxA/M EBLs can handle.
Another body to look at is the L, mine has a 25/4 that never comes off, it's a wonderful package. You can not go wrong with the T.
The Bessa-T is the perfect camera for the 35 Nokton (aka the Beast). It's like they were made for each other. The Bessa-T was the first RF that I bought for myself. Buying dedicated VF's for each focal length you will be expensive. I fell into that trap. My advice is to buy a dedicated VF for the focal length you use the most and a variable VF for the others.
There is a minus to be mentioned. In the - otherwise fantastic - RF system there are two surfaces sliding just over one another. In dusty environments (like a safari in Kenya) it can get stuck. An easy fix though, but not on the spot.
Something like this did not ever happen to me with the M's, CLE or IIf.
I have the T and has had it since it came out (my T is #0000001) and I use it quite regurlarly. I find that it is mostly used with wider lenses, 21/25's and also with 35mm as a "snap shot" camera. It is similar in use to the Bessa L, though the added benefit of the magnified finder makes it very good for precise focussing with longer lenses. I regularly used it with Noctilux and found it worked well. The focus was dead on and the external bright line finder was much brighter than any of my M bodies for that focal length.
I usually carry it along as a back-up or 2/3 body. It is light and the meter is great and you can also meter without having to lift the camera up, just look down, turn the aperture ring until you get "green" and shoot. Very discreet and a muffled cough covers the noise. Or just look innocent and have the camera hanging from your chest. nobody will believe you took a picture!
I wish that I could claim that my T has serial number 0000002, but I cannot.
I have similar views about the T; it is useful to meter without raising the camera to my eyes. It is an excellent camera overall.
I've got a low serial number T, and it went in for repair after only 20 rolls. It had broken in a most serious way. Both shutter and advance mechanism had to be fixed. The statement of repair also mentioned the mirror box (whatever that may signify on an RF.. perhaps they ment the RF housing).
It took 3 months to repair through official channels. It's been working ever since and I've run about 60 more rolls through it without a single problem. But its breaking down hasn't really given me the impression that it's a rugged camera. And when you look back at the discussions on RFF, you'll see a fair share of posts about jammed T's or frame spacing problems when they're run with a trigger wind.
But when they do work, they're absolutely marvelous. The RF has a 1.5x magnification, meaning that even after sitting behind a computer screen for an entire day, I can pick it up and focus without effort and headache. And it's accurate, very accurate (I verified it more accurate than 1cm over an entire range from 1.5m through 5m). It's also got the most spiffing light meter, the LEDs are on the outside! You can see them looking through the RF, looking through an external finder and even with the camera removed from the eye. That's why despite that I'm wary about the ruggedness, I still hold on to it..
Long story short: if you can get a good one (or one with a garantee), just get it! And don't advance a frame before the shutter is completely done..
I had a T with triggerwind for several years and never had problems with it at all. It allowed me to ease my way back into the RF fold for not a lot of money.
My only complaints were the relative loudness of the shutter (not really a problem until I was asked to shoot a stage play) and a feeling of fragility. It never broke or jammed, but I was inspired to be *very* careful and deliberate with it.
Am on my second T. I killed the first one rushing the winder on bulb which jammed the winder mechanism. Despite this failure I loved the camera so much that I ended up buying another one which gets regular use, most often with my Nokton 40mm. Its very light and will serve very well as a second body dedicated perhaps to a single lens (or buy a varifinder as others have mentioned). I can easily stow mine in the bottom of a Lowepro Topload Zoom bag underneath my R-D1. The benefits I see are compactness, relative cheapness secondhand, and the fact that they're damn sexy, particularly the black version. If I happen to secure the R4M in the classifieds I may well sell mine but I'll be sorry to see it go.
Excellent camera. We've had one since it came out, with no problems. My wife Frances Schultz reckons it's her favourite from the whole Bessa line-up. We were just using it on a long shoot in Spain alongside 4 Leicas (M2, M4-P, MP, M8) for Ilford SFX. Her standard finder is a Russian turret.
I have a black T with 40mm Nokton. It's now my only film camera and likely to remain so in the future. To me, it's like a IIIf with all the modern conveniences.
Try it. You'll like it.
Should also add that this camera plus finder plus the 40mm Nokton fits the deluxe Bessa case, brilliant travel option
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