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Voigtlander Bessa III / III Wide Celebrating the two modern Voigtlander 120 film cameras, the 667 Bessa III and Bessa III Wide.

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Bessa III vs. Makina 67
Old 11-07-2010   #1
johnny.moped
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Bessa III vs. Makina 67

Hi,

I'm about to get rid of my Pentax 6x7 as it is just too heavy for my taste.
Also I'm just not a SLR-Guy.
So I narrowed down my decision to the Bessa III (new) and the Makina 67 (used).
How do these two compare aside from the obvious differences?
Is the Makina lens as good as the Bessa lens?
What about other pros and cons (e.g. viewfinder-window)?

thanks
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Old 11-14-2010   #2
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I don't own either camera, but I'll give my 2 cents anyway...

From a thoroughly personal POV, I'd get the Bessa, or rather the Fujifilm version as it costs less. Compared technically to the Makina, I don't know which is the better lens or anything like that. However, the brand new-ness, warranty and looks of the GF670 would swing me that way. This review:

http://www.galerie-photo.com/bessa-667.html

Also shows the lens compares pretty well to a Zeiss Planar, especially around f/8.

Obviously these are the opinions of someone (me) who has not owned or even used either camera, so it's purely gut-instinct kind of thing.
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Old 11-14-2010   #3
borrel
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Look at the window frame of the lighthouse on the horizon (beyond the tower on the nearest island) in this picture: http://abdallah.hiof.no/photography/...100912-009.jpg The pictures from nr 8 and on in this series http://abdallah.hiof.no/photography/saltoe/ are all from a Makina 67. I wasn't all that impressed with the sharpness of the Nikkor lens until the negatives went into my ArtixScan 120tf film scanner. Negative film is wasted on flatbeds. The lenses on the Fuji GX680 which I know, are very good and there is no reason why that on their folder should not be excellent. The Makina 67 is a friendly, compact and good camera with a wonderful personality. It's a good deal cheaper than the Bessa, but be prepared to change light seals, refurbish the wires from the light meter to the shutter/aperture controls, and tighten the telescopic struts. These are the real weak points. The bellows are usually OK, but it is after all, a 35 year old camera - to fall in love with.
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Old 11-14-2010   #4
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I've always had excellent results from the Makina - the Fuji/Bessa may be as good, but it can hardly be better, the Makina/Nikkor being pretty much limited by the film rather than the lens performance.
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Old 11-14-2010   #5
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The Fuji GF670/Bessa III lens gives a very gives a very modern rendition. If you want something with slightly lower contrast buy the Makina.

Personaly, I'd buy the GF670/Bessa III and then look for a Makina W with the 55mm Nikkor lens

I've looked at a Makina several times and they are nice cameras but servicing them could be an issue.





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Old 11-14-2010   #6
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Thanks everybody.
I bought the Bessa III two days ago and really like it so far.
I tried a friends Makina 67 just before I bought the Bessa.

What I didn't like about the Makina where the round framelines and the dark viewfinder (in case one is used to leica-viewfinders like I am).
So the newer Makina 670 was the only option. I saw some for about 1400-1600€ but that would have been "only" 400€ less than a new Bessa III.
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Old 01-28-2011   #7
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I had the same choice 1 1/2 year ago. But I also decided to go for the C.V. Bessa III 667, also because you have the choice for 6x6 OR 6x7cm roll film format. Also more compact, full warranty and a nice soundless shutter.
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Old 01-28-2011   #8
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I'd take the Bessa III. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the Makina 67 but I saw some photos TomA took with his Bessa and these were beyond sharp.
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Old 01-28-2011   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chippy View Post
both take sharp pictures, the nikkor is nicer in the OOF area IMO though

Interesting comment Chippy because when I had the travelling Bessa for a couple of weeks in the final analysis it was the lens that just didn't do it for me ... particularly the out of focus areas. Certainly plenty sharp but sharp is less important to me than overall rendering and when it's the only lens you have because it's fixed to the camera it's the decider.

It's subjective though because many love the lens and the look it produces.
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Old 04-02-2012   #10
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Picking up on old thread - but I would like to stir the water around Makina and Bessa III.

I use since about 2 years a Mamiya 6 with all 3 lenses - which is a great system. But I can not stop lusting after the Makina - mainly because I like how the lenses renders around wide open (NOT because I think it could be sharper - do not worry ) - probably the most attractive from the 'modern' 120 rangefinders.

And yes - I am aware that a Makina is about 20 years old the the repairs are costly (I have recently seen somebody mentioning about 400 € by Plaubel in Germany)

So as the only other comparable camera is the Bessa III - I would love to hear from about the user-point of view experience. How is the meter? Film loading? RF? You name it

How is the build quality of the 2 - there are many comments about the struts on the Makina - but the camera weights 1350g - even more than Mamiya 6 a quite a bit more than Bessa III - so I would guess it should be quite strong.

So - please speak up
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Old 04-02-2012   #11
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Both are capable of producing great results. Advantages of the Bessa/GF670 is that it is more modern, so it has aperture priority AE, a brighter RF/VF (based on the 35mm Bessas), is switchable between 6x6 & 6x7, & is lighter. Advantages of the Makina 67 or 670 are the faster lens &, for me, more convenient layout (easier to carry around un-collapsed & w/hood attached). They are also heavier than the Bessa/GF670 (contains more metal than plastic), but as w/other cameras, that doesn't mean they're actually tougher. The complaints about the Makina's struts are usually about the delicacy of the wiring for the meter/shutter release that runs through them, not the strength of the struts themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matus View Post
Picking up on old thread - but I would like to stir the water around Makina and Bessa III.

I use since about 2 years a Mamiya 6 with all 3 lenses - which is a great system. But I can not stop lusting after the Makina - mainly because I like how the lenses renders around wide open (NOT because I think it could be sharper - do not worry ) - probably the most attractive from the 'modern' 120 rangefinders.

And yes - I am aware that a Makina is about 20 years old the the repairs are costly (I have recently seen somebody mentioning about 400 € by Plaubel in Germany)

So as the only other comparable camera is the Bessa III - I would love to hear from about the user-point of view experience. How is the meter? Film loading? RF? You name it

How is the build quality of the 2 - there are many comments about the struts on the Makina - but the camera weights 1350g - even more than Mamiya 6 a quite a bit more than Bessa III - so I would guess it should be quite strong.

So - please speak up
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Old 04-09-2012   #12
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Bessa III is without question the better camera (and it's an easy decision here in the states, as we have it's twin brother, the GF670, available for less than $1700 new!!)
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Old 04-09-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canetsbe View Post
Bessa III is without question the better camera
Well shucks, I better sell my crappy 670 right away and get the Bessa III. I can't wait to get photos back from the Bessa, without question! Woohoo!
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Old 04-09-2012   #14
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I have never used a Makina, but have used a GF670. Only have good things to say about it, it works great and lens is very sharp. I think they are very good value considering the niche they are serving.
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Old 04-09-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canetsbe View Post
Bessa III is without question the better camera
Seriously? Do you own both cameras? Have you even seen both cameras in person?
I've never used a Bessa but I seriously doubt the Plaubel is inferior to it.
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Old 04-09-2012   #16
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Guys, no superiority fights needed, please. Whoever has experience with any of the two is most welcome to share his/her insights. Of course it s great to hear from those who actually owned both of them.
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Old 04-09-2012   #17
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Only owned the gf670, outstanding camera. I've only seen a makina, never used, seemed plasticky, the gf670 has a lovely firm, but light build, it's extremely portable too.

The makina may have some advantages, but I certainly don't know of any.
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Old 04-09-2012   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matus View Post
Guys, no superiority fights needed, please. Whoever has experience with any of the two is most welcome to share his/her insights. Of course it s great to hear from those who actually owned both of them.
Matus, I don't think this is about superiority, it's just about pointing out uninformed opinions for what they are. For example, one person who hasn't used a Plaubel called it plasticky, even though the thing is solid metal other than a couple parts. Good stuff.

I use a Plaubel and it is heavy, almost up there with a Pentax 67 (1400 g or so). The lighter weight of the Bessa (400 g less) is noticeable and a plus in my book. Some might consider it plasticky, since it is light for its size, but the thing seemed well put together. The ergonomics of the Bessa are more traditional and easier to manipulate, but not a big deal. AE if you want it, and the flexibility to switch between 6x6 and 6x7.

But I love what I get from the 80mm Nikkor, and the Plaubel doesn't get in my way. Lighter weight would be nice, and the lens/struts are vulnerable if you dropped it from high up or banged the lens really hard on something. Once retracted, the Plaubel is a brick. BTMarcais has showed me the Bessa a couple times, and if I didn't already have the Plaubel, it would work just as well, and has more options. But options don't make it 'without question' a better camera, to me. Nikkor did got something right with the 80mm....
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Old 04-09-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matus View Post
Guys, no superiority fights needed, please. Whoever has experience with any of the two is most welcome to share his/her insights. Of course it s great to hear from those who actually owned both of them.
I'm not calling anything superior, I just think it's a little dismissive to state the Bessa is 'without question the better camera.'
I haven't made any statements about the Bessa, I've never even seen one in person.
In my humble opinion the Plaubel falls into the realm of legendary cameras that live up to their reputation. It's quirky, heavy, old, and expensive, but it takes beautiful pictures.
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Old 04-11-2012   #20
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Old 04-11-2012   #21
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You can't go wrong with the Bessa III and remember that age is certainly a factor with the Makina.
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Old 04-11-2012   #22
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Fuji GF670.

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Old 04-12-2012   #23
johnny.moped
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob338 View Post
Seriously? Do you own both cameras? Have you even seen both cameras in person?
I've never used a Bessa but I seriously doubt the Plaubel is inferior to it.
I was the original opener of this thread and a couple of months after buying the Bessa III is also bought a Makina 670.

The Makina is clearly the better camera in terms of optics but not very comfortable to hold.

The Bessa is ok, but (at least mine) has a couple of flaws:
- sometimes the shutter just does not open => lost shots
- battery consumption very high (especially at lower temperatures)
- very visible barrel distortion (if you are into architecture that's very annoying)
- focussing not very accurate (shorter base length than the makina) and focus mechanism very flimsy
- frame lines are only true to the format if focussed on 3m (I am speaking about the format and not about the precision)
- at least mine is focussing way beyond infinity (will have to send it in anytime soon)
- bokeh not that nice (if you are into nice bokeh)
- battery dependent

Besides that it's a fun to use camera that's very (!!) comfortable to hold.
But the Makina still is way more precise and a real tool to work with.

After another couple of months I also bought (traded in my Hasselblad 500) a Mamiya 7II, that is the perfect mix between the Bessa and the Makina (though it's not a folder of course).
Right know I'm using the Mamiya most of time and the Makina if I need the folded size or a backup-/black&white-camera.
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Old 04-12-2012   #24
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I was considering those too .. I looked thru the VF of an BessaIII once and loved it. I also like the design and the compactness of a folded in Makina.
I ultimately went for a Mamiya 7 tho.
I'd love a f/2.8 lens for it but I don't necessarily need it for the stuff I do with it.

if you have the money for the bessaIII go for it. I'd love to switch my format to 6x6 sometimes, that's a killer feature.
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Old 04-17-2012   #25
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- johnny -
thank you for sharing your experience. With the Makina it is indeed the lens that is attractive to me and of course also compactness of the camera when folded.

However - I would like to ask how do you find the metering on these 3 cameras (Achilles' heel of the Mamiya 6 in my opinion)
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