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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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Should I sell my Bessa III?
Old 09-30-2010   #1
Jamie123
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Should I sell my Bessa III?

So I've had this camera for a little more than a year now. There are a few things I really like about it and a few things I don't.

First the things I like. I like it's portability, I like the meter, I like the fact that it's a folder. However, there are some things that bug me a little. Using this camera has made me realize that I'm just not much of a rangefinder guy. Parallax is starting to annoy me as I have to crop way too much in post in order to get things centered. Also, I seem to be having a hard time keeping the camera leveled. Half the shots I take are tilted which, again, forces me to crop in post.
These are all subjective things that have more to do with rangefinders per se than the Bessa III specifically. But there are also aspects about the camera I don't like. The one that bothers me the most is distortion at close range. It's just not flattering for portraits and I do a lot of portraits. One other thing that I don't like is the rendering of high contrast out of focus objects like leaves against the sun. This I could live with though as I can just stop down the lens.

Now I'm seriously considering selling the Bessa III and replacing it with a Mamiya 7 (also a rangefinder but there's no way around it for portability) as a walk around camera and a Mamiya RZ for portraits. I do, however, cringe at the thought of going through the hassle of selling and buying all this stuff.

So please either talk me out of it or in to it
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Old 09-30-2010   #2
ruby.monkey
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Sell the Bessa, buy what you really want. There's no shortage of 7s or RZ67s out there (and you really want the Pro II, or Pro IID if you're looking to go digital) - and the RZ, at least, is a stonkingly good camera.
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Old 09-30-2010   #3
Jamie123
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True, there's a lot of good 7s and RZ67s around. One more option just occured to me that I'm liking more the more I think about it. I could just sell the Bessa III, get a RZ67II and, instead of getting a Mamiya 7 I could just spend the spare cash for one or two decent primes for my Canon 5DII. As you said, there's plenty of 7s around and they aren't going anywhere. I can still get one later if I want to.
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Old 09-30-2010   #4
sevo
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Plain RZ's are so cheap right now that you probably could make do without selling anything...
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Old 09-30-2010   #5
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By the way, my Pro II with 110mm f/2.8 and waist-level finder is one of my favourite walkabout cameras.
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Old 09-30-2010   #6
aizan
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i would just get an rz67.
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Old 09-30-2010   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
i would just get an rz67.
Yeah, or a RB. They are practically giving them away.
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Old 09-30-2010   #8
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" It's just not flattering for portraits and I do a lot of portraits."

There's your answer.
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Old 09-30-2010   #9
Jamie123
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I think I'd want an RZII over an RZ because the fine focus seems useful. I'd definitely want an RZ over an RB.

I suppose I could get a basic RZ67 II kit for around $500. It would be a bit more probably as I'd have to pay shipping and customs. Best thing would obviously be to buy locally but all the local adverts I find are from people who think because they bought it new for $6000 ten years ago they can sell it now for $4000.
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Old 09-30-2010   #10
furcafe
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I would just sell the Bessa & get the RZ. It's a lot of money to have tied up in a camera that you're not happy with.
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Old 09-30-2010   #11
ruby.monkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
If it's not working for you, pass it on. The Mamiya 7/7II is a great platform (I have one myself) but the negs are a little smaller (at 6x7) however and doesn't focus as close as you might like for portraits.
The Bessa III is 6x6 or 6x7.
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Old 09-30-2010   #12
Jamie123
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Originally Posted by furcafe View Post
I would just sell the Bessa & get the RZ. It's a lot of money to have tied up in a camera that you're not happy with.
That's what I'm thinking, too. Don't get me wrong, I do like to use the camera and it does get it's fair share of use but it's just too much money for a camera that's not perfect for me. Also, I got the camera with a specific vacation in mind and now that that's over I'm happy to move on.
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Old 09-30-2010   #13
Jamie123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
If it's not working for you, pass it on. The Mamiya 7/7II is a great platform (I have one myself) but the negs are a little smaller (at 6x7) however and doesn't focus as close as you might like for portraits.
The Bessa III doesn't focus that close either (0.9m/3ft). That doesn't bother me much as I'd be happy to take environmental portraits with it but I often don't because of the pincushion distortion.
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Old 09-30-2010   #14
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Originally Posted by chippy View Post
well, from memory you didnt like (sold) the blad for a carry around camera, partly due to its weight and bulk, i forget but there may of been some break down problems with your gear as well. so it is interesting how the format (67) has persauded you to go from compact (ish) folder to considering bulky RZ , obviously the RZ is significantly worse for comfort as a carry around compared to the blad (at least IMO)..i love em though for the studio or for dedicated (to photography) outdoor shoots

just a suggestion, but, if the size no longer bothers you too much and i am assuming you have taken to the 67 format over 66, then why not consider a Pentax 67, its more ergonomic than the RZ for a carry around, no parallax prob of the Mamiya 7 and all of them better for portrait than the B3
True, I didn't like the Hasselblad as a carry around camera due to its bulk (not the bulk of the camera alone but that of numerous backs and lenses). The RZ is surely much worse as far as bulk is concerned but I wouldn't be using it as carry around camera anyways, only as a portrait camera for formal set ups.

The Pentax 67 is a fine camera but just not right for me. I definitely want a camera with a waist level finder (I know the Pentax can have one, too, but only in landscape mode). I'm a tall guy so any camera at eyelevel forces me to arch down whenever I want to shoot at my subjects level. I don't like that.
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Old 10-03-2010   #15
John NYC
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For portraits, I think it is hard to beat a Hasselblad, with the 150mm and 80mm lenses for head and shoulders and half/full body + environmental, respectively. For me, the Bessa III or the Mamiya 7II just won't ever match up to the 'blad for portraits.

But in all seriousness, I switched to a Canon T2i with the 50mm 1.4 lens (effective focal length 80mm) for my portraits. For me, the speed of digital allows me to capture people more candidly. And the image quality is superb at prints up to 11x14.
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Old 10-04-2010   #16
Jamie123
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Thanks everyone!

As mentioned above I used to own an extensive Hasselblad kit. I sold it when I got a Canon 5DII because I found myself grabbing the Canon more and more while leaving the Hasselblad at home. Also, I wasn't happy with the unreliability of the Hasselblad's mechanics. Every once in a while one of the backs or lenses started to fail and it was almost always cheaper to replace than to get repaired (as, where I live, the cost of repair is really high). Last but not least I got somewhat bored with the square.
All that being said, I really did love the process of photographing with a Hasselblad.

I have decided that I'm definitely going to sell the Bessa III and already have a potential seller. It is most likely going to be replaced by a Mamiya RZ67(II) which I'll use for formal portraits and other tripod work. For a quick second I played with the idea of getting a 4x5 rig but the cost of film and processing and especially the fact that I couldn't use my Nikon 9000 scanner to digitize the negs makes this a bad idea for me.
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RZ and M7 way to go
Old 10-04-2010   #17
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RZ and M7 way to go

I have a Mamiya 7 and RZ67, and use them like you plan to. RZ for portraits, close-ups, tele shots and for a field camera when I am feeling like a masochist. ;-) Mamiya 7 for everything else.

Given the high cost of the Bessa 3 vs. the RZ, it's a no-brainer to get the RZ instead. It's MUCH more versatile, and while heavy, it's not impossible to take it out as a walkaround field camera. I do so fairly regularly, esp. when I know I will need to do stuff closer than the M7 will allow.

-Ed
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Old 10-04-2010   #18
John NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie123 View Post
Thanks everyone!

I have decided that I'm definitely going to sell the Bessa III and already have a potential seller. It is most likely going to be replaced by a Mamiya RZ67(II) which I'll use for formal portraits and other tripod work. For a quick second I played with the idea of getting a 4x5 rig but the cost of film and processing and especially the fact that I couldn't use my Nikon 9000 scanner to digitize the negs makes this a bad idea for me.
Certainly a fine camera as well!

Will be interested to hear what they fetch used, as I've never seen one for sale yet... if you feel like sharing this, that is.
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Old 10-05-2010   #19
Debusti Paolo
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as walkaround and portrait camera I strongly suggest you the bronica rf645.Portrait orintated VF,small,16 frames per roll,great automatic flash also for fill-in,great lenses and cheap camera.the polarized Vf is better than the leica one.the only draw is the separeted vf FOR 45 LENSE that is bulky and lines not easy to see for me.....
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Old 10-06-2010   #20
shadowfox
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Just curious,

What do you do with the 6x7 negatives?

Do you print them in the darkroom?
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Old 10-06-2010   #21
Jamie123
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Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
Just curious,

What do you do with the 6x7 negatives?

Do you print them in the darkroom?
I scan them on a Nikon CS 9000 ED scanner. After that I put them in a cardboard envelope and stash them in a box
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Old 12-16-2010   #22
John NYC
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Well, I'm digging up this thread because I, too, am now thinking of selling my Bessa III. Not because I don't love it, I do. But if you follow me on any other forums/outlets, you'll see I switch gear up from time to time. (I sold my 'blad system after using the Bessa III for a while also). I have recently bought a Rollei 2.8f in near mint condition (ouch!) and am going to be using that for my MF for a while. Will probably be posting the Bessa III for sale after Christmas after I have time to mull it over a little more.
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Old 12-16-2010   #23
mel
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I have recently bought a Rollei 2.8f in near mint condition (ouch!) and am going to be using that for my MF for a while.
You lucky dog. I bet you marry her.
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Old 12-16-2010   #24
mel
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BTW Just received today John Phillips' newly published "The Classic Rollei - A Definitive Guide" via Royal Mail from Amazon UK as it isn't available in the US yet. Let's just say that "definitive" is an understatement. It's a textbook/tome (weighs more than a Rollei) that has everything you want to know about (every) Rollei, the plethora of accessories, and of course, how Rollei evolved, for both collectors and users. A "must have" for an owner of a 2.8F in mint condition. Surprisingly the Amazon UK price was better than the US pre-order. No reviews yet b/c everyone will be busy reading for a long time. LOL. Fast shipping too. Wasn't supposed to arrive till after Xmas.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Classic-Roll...2566638&sr=8-1

Last edited by mel : 12-16-2010 at 21:27.
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Old 12-16-2010   #25
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Not to hijack this into a Rollei thread but one little detail in the book that struck me was that the Leica had already been out for some time when the first Rollei hit the street at an annual photo fair, much like Photokina. Instantly, the Rollei gained recognition. Unlike the other which was mentioned in a publication as, "That little camera known as a Leica."
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