Originally Posted by Dez
The Barnack Leicas are superb machines, built to the finest quality standards, and an exercise in precision to use. But there were reasons that Leitz came up with the M's and subsequently discontinued the screwmount cameras.
The M viewfinders are infinitely better. It's just not a matter of convenience: I will get shots with an M that I will miss with a Barnack because of the time spent in framing and focusing with the dinky little separate VF and RF. Based on years of experience with the M series, Leitz had the chance to update the Barnacks with a good combined VF/RF and a back door for easier film loading in the IIIG and didn't do it. And of course, I can still use all my screwmount lenses.
I will have to agree with many of the thoughts posted here about the wonderful little Bessas. I have both an M4 and a Bessa 3A, and I suspect I use the Bessa twice as much as the M4
I have only owned the Barnack type -- a IIIf. I also have a Bessa T which s a bit more modern as Juan has described and takes M lenses--of which I have just one. a CV Nokton 35/1.4.
The Bessa is a really a good camera, nicely designed and solid but also light weight. The IIIf is just . . . well, wonderful--especially with the collapsible Elmar lens. Just a beautiful example of industrial design--compact, well proportioned, solid and really SMALL . . .I love it.
I am tempted by the M's viewfinder, but so far haven't bitten. I've gotten my hands on a M6. It's heavier and a bit of a brick -- I thought
---what am I saying?--But maybe the smooth operation and great viewfinder makes up for that. None of the Ms have 1/2000 or built in light meter on the camera body, features i appreciate on the Bessa T.