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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.

View Poll Results: Which of these CV Bessas is most likely to become a classic?
Bessa L 12 5.97%
Bessa R 38 18.91%
Bessa R2 17 8.46%
Bessa T 14 6.97%
Bessa R2M/A 17 8.46%
Bessa R3M/A 25 12.44%
Bessa R4M/A 60 29.85%
None. 18 8.96%
Voters: 201. You may not vote on this poll

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Greatest CV camera?
Old 01-05-2016   #1
traveler_101
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Greatest CV camera?

Now that Cosina has stopped production of its Bessa cameras, perhaps we can hazard a guess about which, if any, of these cameras is most likely to be remembered thirty years from now. Will there be a Cosina-Voigtlander "classic"?
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Old 01-05-2016   #2
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WOW. 100% of the votes went to the R.
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Old 01-05-2016   #3
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For me it's the R2... The Olive in particular. That's just me.

The Camera that is not on the list is the Bessa iii / Fuji GF670.
Definitely will be highly sought for as long as 120 film is available.
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Old 01-05-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
WOW. 100% of the votes went to the R.
Raid, do you have a R?
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Old 01-05-2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
For me it's the R2... The Olive in particular. That's just me.

The Camera that is not on the list is the Bessa iii / Fuji GF670.
Definitely will be highly sought for as long as 120 film is available.
Oops. I knew I would forget one. I should have said "which 35m camera" . . . It will be interesting to see what percentage of the vote goes to R2.
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Old 01-05-2016   #6
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R3A 1:1 finder, same guts as the Zeiss Ikon.
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Old 01-05-2016   #7
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Bessa T. Only one I kept (I used R, R2 and R3a), just because it's different.
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Old 01-05-2016   #8
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What about R2S? Pretty damn nice!
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Old 01-05-2016   #9
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Don't like this poll The 2,3,4 A and M's perform differently.
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Old 01-05-2016   #10
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R4 in either form. It's the one that really offers something different in RFs.
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Old 01-05-2016   #11
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i agree with the rockitman!
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Old 01-05-2016   #12
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Definitely the R4
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Old 01-05-2016   #13
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I voted R2 because that's what started me on my RF journey.
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Old 01-05-2016   #14
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Bessa L or T - both are so "old school" and minimalistic.
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Old 01-05-2016   #15
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The Bessa T has always caught my interest.
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Old 01-05-2016   #16
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I voted R4 and it now looks like I'm in good company!

I have an R4A, T, and L, all unique in their own ways.
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Old 01-05-2016   #17
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re-realizing Bessa is now completely discontinued. I wish I could get an R4M at some point for a reasonable price.
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Old 01-05-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug View Post
I voted R4 and it now looks like I'm in good company!

I have an R4A, T, and L, all unique in their own ways.
My favorites as well. As you say, each is unique in its own way, and I'm happy to have used them, but personally I don't see any of them becoming "classics" -- for me, the build quality is not quite there, prone to jamming and sensitive RF alignment. All great fun though. The T literally fell apart during a bumpy bike trip through southwest China -- but easily put back together once back in HK. My fourth favorite was the R, which did survive the rigors of two years in Mali and a year in China in the custody of one or another of my globetrotting kids.
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Old 01-05-2016   #19
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Voted Bessa L- only one I've owned. Feels cheap, was cheap, but works just fine. Like it a lot.
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Old 01-05-2016   #20
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I like 'em (having owned an L and an R3A, and currently enjoying a T), but I can't see any of them becoming classics.
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Old 01-05-2016   #21
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So no more camera bodies from CV ever? Just lenses?
Sorry if I sound stupid but I just re read this thread and noticed the what it's all about,I was thinking it was one of those " which is your favorite " threads.

Cancel that question as I just did a search and found the head bartenders thread.

Sad days indeed.
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Old 01-05-2016   #22
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Looked back on fondly? Most of them. Greatest? Depends on what magnification you prefer. But classic? The L. There's hardly anything like it and I doubt there will be in the future.
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Old 01-05-2016   #23
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I had a post that my *&^*&^*)(* Windows 10 Surface Pro ate! F*(&*(*((* windows!

Take two.

On reflection I think they'll all be remembered in some sort of conflated manner. People will see them as niche at the time, but lots of niche variation at the time. You can go rangefinder, or viewfinder-less, you can have high magnification or low magnification, screw mount or M mount or Contax / Nikon Mount. You can go plastic, metal, limited edition, regular edition, black, grey, blue, olive and that plasticky silver. They came with as great and as varied a range of wide-angled and normal lenses as has ever been offered by any maker. They were expensive enough, but not rolled in unobtanium dust by German pixies; so they appeared cheap and people (i.e. men mostly) could 'come into the fold' (after arguing value with significant others) and buy a new rangefinder.

I think these qualities will get conflated into a conceptual idea that will see all Bessa's remain memorable.

If I had to pick one though, I would go Bessa R. The L was first of course, but it feels more like a camera to sell a lens than a product like the R that people might have actually been looking for or become converted by - even if they didn't know they were looking for something like a new rangefinder. I think the R though was good enough that it would have appealed to those that already knew about rangefinders, but in a left of centre sort of way. However unlike the L, it wasn't so off the grid that it wouldn't also appeal to rangefinder neophytes. And it spawned a line of successor models.

I remember thinking back in 2003/4 as I ogled Bessa's on Stephen's site that a Bessa L was pretty cool, but a viewfinder-less camera body, for $79! How was that going to work? So perhaps the L is too niche to ever be truly memorable. But the R spawned a line of cameras and did so using existing manufacturing tech in an interesting and unexpected way to produce a rangefinder, as opposed to a light tight box. All whilst digital was sweeping the world.
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Old 01-06-2016   #25
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Another vote for the R2 olive -- the only one I still use much. Frances likes the T.

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Old 01-06-2016   #26
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Bessa R2S (Nikon RF mount) - and the Bessa IIIW imo.
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Old 01-06-2016   #27
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The Bessa R was the original CV rangefinder, and there has been nothing like it since.
The M mount Bessa models may be better built and offer more features,
but the Bessa R sold at a price point that enabled many to join "the club".

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Old 01-06-2016   #28
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The R or the R4. Both amazing cameras. The R came onto the scene with a really bright view finder and the fact that it used screw mount lenses of old was awesome. Battery lasts forever on it too. Cons were the shorter base length and the plastic build. But mine has held up very well with handling, scratched to hell inside (those darn collapsible lenses) and out but working smooth.

The R4 and its huge 21mm finder is probably the biggest change up in the range finder world to date. No need for external finders for 21mm and 25mm lenses. Amazing.

Bonus: the Zeiss ikon, what a beautiful camera. Huge ebl, amazingly bright finder (my 28mm lives on this one) and uniquely located film rewind on the bottom.

CV did a great job with these cameras and I am sad to see them go. They also were amazing at producing great accessories for their cameras and lenses too. I hope their lens production sticks around. They make great stuff that's within reach for the majority of photographers.


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Old 01-06-2016   #29
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The R2s seemed to have a "next level" build quality.
There is something special about that model indeed.
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Old 01-06-2016   #30
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Many seem to be giving their favorite instead of answering... "Which of these CV Bessas is most likely to become a classic?"
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Old 01-06-2016   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
Many seem to be giving their favorite instead of answering... "Which of these CV Bessas is most likely to become a classic?"
Don't think so. For versatility and simplicity the R2 is hard to beat and that olive drab finish really is something special. The T is unique in not having a viewfinder. I mean, how are you defining "classic"?

Of course you can argue for any of them, especially the R (the original high-end) and the L (the original original). I'd argue against the battery-dependent A-series, though.

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Old 01-06-2016   #32
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Fair enough Roger, the original R being a LTM body in a "modern" style RF body makes sense too. However, it is a little cheap in its build. The T, sure that was unique. R2... it's nice, but doesn't offer anything that a Leica hadn't (that I'm aware of). Pretty camera in that color though. The L doesn't count as a RF to me. The R4 with a built in 25mm VF was special.
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Old 01-06-2016   #33
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The "R" is classic because it, possibly more than any single camera, laid the foundation for the "rangefinder Renaissance." "Classic" in this sense refers both back to the period before the SLR, when the LTM camera dominated photography, but it also links to the crucial period - right at the turn of the 21st century - when the rangefinder re-emerged from relative obscurity to strongly influence photography again. The R showed it was possible to link the past and the present. Without that the whole course mirror less would not have been possible.
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Old 01-06-2016   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
The "R" is classic because it, possibly more than any single camera, laid the foundation for the "rangefinder Renaissance." "Classic" in this sense refers both back to the period before the SLR, when the LTM camera dominated photography, but it also links to the crucial period - right at the turn of the 21st century - when the rangefinder re-emerged from relative obscurity to strongly influence photography again. The R showed it was possible to link the past and the present. Without that the whole course mirror less would not have been possible.
You had me until the mirrorless part... since there were already digital cameras without mirrors, the real part, that would have came anyway, was the interchangeable lens. I doubt the Bessa had anything to do with the interchangeable lens part of mirrorless... since interchangeable lenses had been around forever. However, the first Mirrorless with interchangeable lenses was the Epson R-D1...
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Old 01-06-2016   #35
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I voted for the R because it offered metering in a fully featured LTM mount.

But I could just as easily vote for the R2C as it also offered a meter in a fully featured Contax mount.

I use them both regularly. The R2C is certainly built to a better standard than the R but that does not stop you from enjoying the unique experience of either one.
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Old 01-06-2016   #36
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Good points Pioneer. Ok, I've owned and used a few Bessas, but never thought about what they brought to the table.
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Old 01-06-2016   #37
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I'm surprised no mention of the Bessaflex TM?

It's the only CV I wished I owned, seems like an excellent platform for all the fabulous M42 lenses out there.

And it appears pleasingly designed in an authentically classic sort of way.
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Old 01-06-2016   #38
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I'm a big fan of the R4A, I love the big 1:1 viewfinder.
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Old 01-06-2016   #39
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The R3M is my Fav. Love that exposure readout. Always wanted an R4M. Maybe
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Old 01-06-2016   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
You had me until the mirrorless part... since there were already digital cameras without mirrors, the real part, that would have came anyway, was the interchangeable lens. I doubt the Bessa had anything to do with the interchangeable lens part of mirrorless... since interchangeable lenses had been around forever. However, the first Mirrorless with interchangeable lenses was the Epson R-D1...
You are thinking about tech, I am thinking about inspiration for the camera's form.
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