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Voigtlander Bessa Leica Mount Cameras Made in Japan by Cosina in partnership with Voigtlander, the many modern Voigtlander Leica Screw Mount and Leica M mount bodies offer inexpensive and often unique options into entering the world of Leica rangefinder photography.

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Old 09-28-2015   #41
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I could understand stopping of film cameras production, but I don't understand why they never upgraded RD-1 series. Plenty of hipsters, including me , to buy one if it is bellow $2K price, FF and in the same film RF body with shutter lever.
A number years ago Mr. Kobayashi clearly stated he was not interested in chasing the constantly moving target that is digital imaging technologies. Mr. Kobayashi believed digital camera development and product was too dynamic and he wasn't interested in dealing with the constant change.

At this point digital imaging technologies are much closer to equilibrium. CMOS technology is ubiquitous and stable. The DNG format greatly reduces the work and investment in software development.

Sadly I am unfamiliar with how Kickstarter is perceived in Japan. Yet it seems to me it would be feasible to buy bodies and components from Cosina and manufacture a no-frills RF camera.

So how much would people be willing to pay for a M-mount Cosina-based RF body with a 24 X 36 mm sensor?

What features that are common on mirrorless cameras would you be willing to eschew in order to decrease product development time and cut costs? One example would be minimizing imaging artifacts common with wide-angle lenses on M-mount using post-production tools rather than an in-camera optics-based solution.

Would you except DNG raw?
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Old 09-28-2015   #42
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This is a clear sign of yet another nail being pounded into the film coffin.
No.
Talk to dealers of used film cameras and they will tell you the demand is increasing.
There is a rising interest in film especially from young photographers. But these concentrate their demand on the used market.
That is the problem Cosina is facing.

By the way also a problem the digital camera manufacturers are facing: With the oversaturated market for digital cameras more and more people buy used gear instead of the extremely high new digital camera prices.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-28-2015   #43
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No.
Talk to dealers of used film cameras and they will tell you the demand is increasing.
I've seen some dealers here in NYC get rid of their used camera sections.

Quote:
There is a rising interest in film especially from young photographers.
Not as much as a few years ago.

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By the way also a problem the digital camera manufacturers are facing: With the oversaturated market for digital cameras more and more people buy used gear instead of the extremely high new digital camera prices.
Partly true, but many people don't like to buy used.
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Old 09-28-2015   #44
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No.
Talk to dealers of used film cameras and they will tell you the demand is increasing.
There is a rising interest in film especially from young photographers. But these concentrate their demand on the used market.
That is the problem Cosina is facing.

By the way also a problem the digital camera manufacturers are facing: With the oversaturated market for digital cameras more and more people buy used gear instead of the extremely high new digital camera prices.

Cheers, Jan
I am pleased to read such a comment , Jan.
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Old 09-28-2015   #45
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...
Interestingly Cosina is still producing film cameras for other brands: Nikon FM10 and Vivitar V3800-50.

Cheers, Jan
I think it is gone as well.

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This is a clear sign of yet another nail being pounded into the film coffin.
Not really, where are millions of working film cameras available if you ain't picky.
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Old 09-28-2015   #46
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Then you've had very good luck. That is not a normal price for a mint used F6. Normally the price is higher.

Interestingly Cosina is still producing film cameras for other brands: Nikon FM10 and Vivitar V3800-50.
The average price is higher but it didn't take much to find one at this price in a private sale. It shows the trend.

Nikon and Vivitar continue to sell a small number of entry level film SLRs every year. Cosina produces the bodies under contract, presumably at a profit. As long as Nikon and Vivitar keep renewing the contract, there's no reason to stop that production.

I asked my local large dealer how sales of used film gear were holding up. They said they wholesale 90% of the incoming film cameras. I've seen the same cameras and lenses in their cabinets for sale for long, long periods of time. And this is in a University town where plenty of photo hipsters reside.
:-)

G
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Old 09-28-2015   #47
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What percentage of that population do you suppose cares how a print over 11 x 14" looks? Sorry to hear that, Cosina. Thank you for helping me believe before that.

- Daniel
I can only dream of how great it would be if 11x14 prints were the mainstream quality baseline.

RIP, Voightlander film cameras - may my R3A soldier on.
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Old 09-28-2015   #48
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Yes, this is sad as it is more evidence of drastic changes in the 35mm film market. As Godfrey said this is a business for CV. The production of a camera line, ultimately, means that the incremental revenue from its sales exceed the costs. If, of course, the firm wants to make a profit and not simply cross - subsidize camera production from lens sales. The main camera competition seems to be Leica where the consumer dollars (or euros) are flowing... But, nevertheless, sad as it is something that is lost....
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Old 09-28-2015   #49
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Not as much as a few years ago.
No, it is even more. All film manufacturers are reporting that.
One of the main reasons why Pemberstone has invested in Harman technology. They've made that very clear that there is an increasing market (Ilford's numbers are showing that), also driven by younger photographers.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-28-2015   #50
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I think it is gone as well.
No, both are in production. Just look at Nikon's and Vivitar's homepages.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-28-2015   #51
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I have two Bessa L cameras and two Bessa T. One of the T is blue.
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Old 09-28-2015   #52
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I asked my local large dealer how sales of used film gear were holding up. They said they wholesale 90% of the incoming film cameras. I've seen the same cameras and lenses in their cabinets for sale for long, long periods of time. And this is in a University town where plenty of photo hipsters reside.
:-)

G
All the big used film camera dealers I've talked to say demand is improving. And the camera repair shops also report increasing number of incoming film cameras for CLA or repair. Lot's from younger photographers.
I've also heard that from the UK. Maybe the US market is still a bit weaker. Film has remained much more popular in Germany compared to the US over all the years.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-28-2015   #53
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Not as much as a few years ago.
Perhaps they are busy using their cameras rather than buying new ones?
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Old 09-28-2015   #54
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Do I remember correctly that Fuji also has stopped selling the GF670 ?

I hope service for those Bessa iii and Fuji gf670 cameras goes on for at least a decade.
My Gf is my most loved and used Film camera.
Even displacing the Rolleiflex for the mist part.
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Old 09-28-2015   #55
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Voigtländer is not a well known brand and doesn't define a Lifestyle like the Lomographic Society and Leica do. They both sell a lifestyle and not cameras.

Furthermore in times of economic downturns People tend to buy expensive bling (scientifically proven luxury goods sold extremely well during the Depression and now again a lot of people want to Show off their wealth or at least try to appear well off.)

So the success or lack thereof of Cosina cameras has little to do with the health of the analogue film market.
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Old 09-28-2015   #56
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All the big used film camera dealers I've talked to say demand is improving. And the camera repair shops also report increasing number of incoming film cameras for CLA or repair. Lot's from younger photographers.
At least here in Frankfurt, the majority of used camera dealers still around a decade ago have closed their shops (or converted to a new, digital Leica boutique) - gentrification of the inner city and red light (and formerly camera shop) district probably being more to blame than actually sinking demand.

And within the last five years, half the local camera repairers have retired or died.

So it really is hard to tell whether we see an actual increase or merely a concentration of demand on fewer sources.

Also, young photographers don't seem to need used camera stores that much, they rather go with what film camera has a personal meaning for them - which usually means the lesser consumer gear, as that was around when they were a small child, unless a parent happened to be a enthusiast or pro. The undergraduate students I know have all done some kind of autobiographic selfie project with their parent's camera (regardless whether that was a point-and-shoot or a Minolta 7000), but only one of them has ambitions towards more professional film gear...
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Old 09-28-2015   #57
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A number years ago Mr. Kobayashi clearly stated he was not interested in chasing the constantly moving target that is digital imaging technologies. Mr. Kobayashi believed digital camera development and product was too dynamic and he wasn't interested in dealing with the constant change.

At this point digital imaging technologies are much closer to equilibrium. CMOS technology is ubiquitous and stable. The DNG format greatly reduces the work and investment in software development.

Sadly I am unfamiliar with how Kickstarter is perceived in Japan. Yet it seems to me it would be feasible to buy bodies and components from Cosina and manufacture a no-frills RF camera.

So how much would people be willing to pay for a M-mount Cosina-based RF body with a 24 X 36 mm sensor?

What features that are common on mirrorless cameras would you be willing to eschew in order to decrease product development time and cut costs? One example would be minimizing imaging artifacts common with wide-angle lenses on M-mount using post-production tools rather than an in-camera optics-based solution.

Would you except DNG raw?
Good points. The M9 is already plenty mature for many of us, and I think that camera will be in wide use for a long time.

4k video we don't need Many other features. M240 form factor we don't need, and an M6 sized RF would be well received.
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Old 09-28-2015   #58
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Perhaps they are busy using their cameras rather than buying new ones?
Oh, I meant that I used to see a lot of film cameras in use around NYC a few years ago ... now, not as much. I walk around NYC a lot photographing.
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Old 09-28-2015   #59
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It's a tough call trying to sell new film cameras when so many fantastic ones are available for pennies on the dollar used.
I have a like new condition F6, USA model (so can be serviced here) for $700. $2200 new.
A like new Nikon FE2 (which I think is a better camera than the F6) for $80.
A collection of Nikon F and F2 cameras which started at $100. And these, IMO, are the quintessential film SLRs.
A like new Bessa R3a that cost me $315
Perfect shape Minolta X300 for $20 (I'm surprised how good this camera is)
etc etc

When all this is available, stuff that (some of it) used to cost thousands new, how do you compete against that as a new mfg?

Did I mention you can get a perfect Nikon F4 for $150? An F3 for $100? An F5 for $250?...

Also, because film photogrpahy is seen as retro, most of the kids getting into it want a retro camera. They have no interest in buying a new one.
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Old 09-28-2015   #60
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Agreed 100%.

The market is pretty much saturated with used cameras, most of which work fine. eBay, craigslist, or a family member can provide any number of 35mm cameras.

I imagine only a connoisseur or one of those people who can't stand the thought of used items would buy a new (35mm*) film camera today.

95% of the people I personally know shooting film are doing it for art classes, and their required equipment is a Pentax K1000 or similar. They couldn't afford a new film camera anyway.

*All bets are off for larger formats. I guess the MF cameras didn't sell well? Surprising.
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Old 09-28-2015   #61
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I can't say I'm surprised. I never see them being used by anyone here in NYC anymore. Even some of the film diehards at our RFF meeting are increasingly going towards digital.
I'm seeing the opposite trend - but not towards new film cameras. Not only are there plenty of (better) used cameras available, a large part of the young demographic attracted to film want to recycle and revive old cameras instead of adding to the churn of consumer products.
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Old 09-28-2015   #62
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I'm seeing the opposite trend - but not towards new film cameras. Not only are there plenty of (better) used cameras available, a large part of the young demographic attracted to film want to recycle and revive old cameras instead of adding to the churn of consumer products.
In Sweden? Perhaps it could differ from city to city or from country to country?
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Old 09-28-2015   #63
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It`s certainly not like that in the UK .
I can`t remember the last time I saw somebody (apart from me ) using a film camera.

The local camera clubs stopped accepting film entries some years ago now.
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Old 09-28-2015   #64
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The local camera clubs stopped accepting film entries some years ago now.
What?!

Oh, you said "camera club," not "photography club."

How stupid.
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Old 09-28-2015   #65
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What?!

Oh, you said "camera club," not "photography club."

How stupid.

Good point but actually they are all totally focused on the print.
I rarely encounter any gear talk and certainly never any lens talk

No film or slide entries though ...

The UK photographic societies (to give them their proper title), through their governing bodies, have a strangle hold (my perjorative) on the aspiring amateur .

Dictating both content , style ... and medium.
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Old 09-29-2015   #66
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Sad, of course, and a bit strange.
Because last year at photokina Leica reported increasing sales for their film M models. Therefore they introduced another film model, the M-A.

Cheers, Jan
Not so strange, IMO, as the Leica film models have no competition at their price point, while the Bessa cameras have lots of competition at theirs. The market is flooded with used Leica M cameras, for the price of a new Bessa R/M you can get a decent and recently serviced Leica M6 (or any other older non-collectors model you prefer). With The only "unique" selling point of the Bessa's which cannot be matched by a used Leica offering would be the R4 models with their integrated 21mm/25mm frame lines. I have used various 35mm film ragefinders from both CV and Leica and when I compare, for example, a new R2M/R2A with a serviced user M6 classic I frankly do not see a lot that speaks in favor of the Bessa and quite a bit that speaks against it.
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Old 09-29-2015   #67
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Not so strange, IMO, as the Leica film models have no competition at their price point, while the Bessa cameras have lots of competition at theirs. The market is flooded with used Leica M cameras, for the price of a new Bessa R/M you can get a decent and recently serviced Leica M6 (or any other older non-collectors model you prefer). With The only "unique" selling point of the Bessa's which cannot be matched by a used Leica offering would be the R4 models with their integrated 21mm/25mm frame lines. I have used various 35mm film ragefinders from both CV and Leica and when I compare, for example, a new R2M/R2A with a serviced user M6 classic I frankly do not see a lot that speaks in favor of the Bessa and quite a bit that speaks against it.
You are probably right with this assessment.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-29-2015   #68
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You are probably right with this assessment.
Yes, that is my interpretation too. I'm also generally quite relaxed about the availability of film and it's future prospects and see no need to talk of "nails being driven into coffins", etc. However, the news from Cosina is nonetheless a bit of a blow to the film oriented side of the photo industry. I don't think it has any direct significance in terms of future film sales and lab services but the loss of a major manufacturer of new film cameras sends an unwelcome message. It moves us closer to a time when you might no longer be able to buy a new film camera, in itself not necessarily a problem (after all, there are millions of used cameras in circulation) but, without the option of new hardware, a psychological threshold will have been crossed and film use will have moved firmly into the dedicated enthusiast sector.
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Old 09-29-2015   #69
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Who bought a new Bessa anyway? The camera was overpriced for what it was. I owned several but always bought second hand.
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Old 09-29-2015   #70
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The main point of it all was Bessa R4x. For a reasonable price you were getting a wide angle multi frame viewfinder with a bonus camera attached.
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Old 09-29-2015   #71
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without the option of new hardware, a psychological threshold will have been crossed and film use will have moved firmly into the dedicated enthusiast sector.
THAT threshold was probably already crossed around the time the Bessas appeared - by 2000, digital took over the first row of the point and shoot shelves in big camera stores. And even if you place it later, it was over four or five years later, when the same happened for SLRs.

At least in Europe the existence of the CV Bessa series was never known outside the dedicated enthusiast sector, and going by forum comments, the US are generally considered a place where film photography is even less accessible. Did it see general distribution and public interest in Japan?
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Old 09-29-2015   #72
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extremely sad...
i'm a relatively new owner of an r3a, and i love everything about it. not even in the same universe as my previous fixed lens RF's.
on a somewhat unrelated note: last year we had a school assigmnet: we had to shoot a commercial for the object of our choosing. can you guess?
it is of course not without irony, but yesterdays new does bring some sadness to it.
rip cosina voigtlander.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzUklL-DDrU
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Old 09-29-2015   #73
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(...) without the option of new hardware, a psychological threshold will have been crossed and film use will have moved firmly into the dedicated enthusiast sector.
I believe that already happened years ago.
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Old 09-29-2015   #74
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sad to hear, at some point I will buy back a Bessa IIIW among the best camera I've ever had.

and I hope they will release a digital rangefinder camera next year.
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Old 09-29-2015   #75
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oh! A loss for sure IMHO.

Bessas - the blended whiskey one still enjoys because they lead to single malts.

CV introduced me to "RF" with a 15mm and an L, a T and 2 x R3As all of which I still have along with a stable of their wonderful glass. Yes, I eventually bought M, but without that accessible pathway I never would have.
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Old 09-29-2015   #76
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Sorry to see this news. I don't know if Stephen will remember but I bought a Bessa and lens early on. Loved it enough that I bought some Nikon RF mount lenses from him also. Later added to my SLR collection by buying used from NYC camera dealers. I have always been impressed with the offerings.

IMO the Bessa, and Stephen's wonderful Cameraquest site, really brought rangefinders back into popularity.
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Old 09-29-2015   #77
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(...) IMO the Bessa, and Stephen's wonderful Cameraquest site, really brought rangefinders back into popularity.
For me that's true. I probably would not have tried a rangefinder camera if Cameraquest and RFF did not exist. And my first rangefinder was a Bessa R3a.
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Old 09-29-2015   #78
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I believe that already happened years ago.
Yes, I'm not sure "dedicated enthusiast" was the best description I could have used to describe someone who sticks with a technology even though the equipment is no longer available to buy new. I guess I meant a different level of dedication.
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Old 09-29-2015   #79
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For me that's true. I probably would not have tried a rangefinder camera if Cameraquest and RFF did not exist. And my first rangefinder was a Bessa R3a.
Exactly the same for me. In fact I would probably be shooting with a DSLR right now instead of film!
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Old 09-30-2015   #80
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Hello,

very important question to our "head bartender" Stephen Gandy:

In the official Cosina statement only the three 35mm Bessas are listed as discontinued.
But not the medium format Bessa III and Bessa III W.

So what is the real situation with the medium format models?

Thanks and cheers, Jan
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