Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Leicas and other Leica Mount Cameras > Voigtlander Bessa Leica Mount Cameras

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.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Starting out with an R2A
Old 10-24-2016   #1
LBeacon1
Registered User
 
LBeacon1 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10
Starting out with an R2A

I'm a portrait photographer working digitally, but I'd like to branch out and get into B&W film street photography.

I don't have a large budget but it looks like a Bessa R2A would work for me, with it's built in lightmeter and more of a solid body than the R. I'm planning to pair that with a Voigtlander Color Skopar 50mm 2.5.

First question: Where on earth can you buy an R2A in the UK?? Everything on eBay seems to be from Japan, and I don't want to get stung on import taxes, and I've looked in the classifieds on this website with no joy.

Is the Color Skopar 50mm a good starting street photography lens? On Ken Rockwell's site he doesn't give it (or any other Voigtlander lenses, it seems) a good review! I've seen some lovely shots using it on this forum though, but it's hard to tell when you're looking at compressed jpegs.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #2
sojournerphoto
Registered User
 
sojournerphoto is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,637
I had a color-skopar 35 that I regret selling. Nice little lens.

Usual suspects for an R2a - ffordes (currently nothing) eBay, real camera company in Manchester and luck.

I've got an R3m 250 anniversary with its 50 Heliar classic, but that may not be what you're after.

Mike
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #3
LBeacon1
Registered User
 
LBeacon1 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10
Hi Mike,

Thanks for your reply.

I haven't heard of the Real Camera Company, I'll give them a shout.

Unfortunately I'm after a Bessa with a light meter, and I don't think the R3M has one. Thanks anyway!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #4
ray*j*gun
Registered User
 
ray*j*gun's Avatar
 
ray*j*gun is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Philadelphia area
Posts: 2,317
The R3m has a light meter. You just have a mechanical shutter withe the M's vs electronic with the A's. Also the A's let you shoot aperture priority but the M's don't.
__________________
Raymond
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #5
ray*j*gun
Registered User
 
ray*j*gun's Avatar
 
ray*j*gun is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Philadelphia area
Posts: 2,317
Also the CV Color Skopar 50mm 2.5 is a great lens!!! KR is not the best source for all reviews.
__________________
Raymond
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #6
Juan Valdenebro
Truth is beauty
 
Juan Valdenebro's Avatar
 
Juan Valdenebro is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Barcelona and Colombia
Age: 47
Posts: 4,354
Hi, welcome!
For sure you'll enjoy B&W street photography...
The R2A is a great camera, no doubt...
Consider there are other great options too: you might find soon you didn´t really need AutoExposure, because for fast shooting what you need is "knowing" (it's easy) the amount of light you're walking in, and AE gets easily fooled with overcast sky, sun and other light sources and reflections... Besides, a camera with all mechanical speeds and meter (like the R2M) is a better choice for street IMO...
Both 50 & 35 Skopars are indeed GREAT lenses. The advantage of the 35 Skopar is you get superior depth of field when the lens is around f/8 so you don't need to focus slowly in front of a vanishing scene... With a 50mm the game is different... Both focal lengths are interesting, and surely you'll end up owning several 35´s and several 50's soon: you won't be an exception here...
So, R2M and 35 Skopar are my recommendation.
I use 2 Bessas T, an R4M and an R3A: they all do different things. And never had any problem with them or with the Voigtlander lenses I use every day.
This is a beautiful journey! Enjoy!!!
Cheers,
Juan
__________________
F i l m means fun!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #7
JP Owens
Registered User
 
JP Owens is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Age: 68
Posts: 358
I had several Bessas, and the R2A was my favorite. If I still shot film, I'd still be shooting the R2A. Solid camera with all the right features.
__________________
_______

"Nothing exists beyond the edges of the frame."
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #8
Ko.Fe.
Kostya Fedot
 
Ko.Fe.'s Avatar
 
Ko.Fe. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MiltON.ONtario
Posts: 7,285
Smart move on A model. It is good aid for street photography and Bessa's lightmeter is accurate.
I would skip 50mm Color Skopar for two reasons. It is overpriced and it is too narrow.
35 Color Skopar is completely opposite. Great for the street and one of the best priced 35 RF lenses with capabilities.

K. Rockwell doesn't know anything about street photography, he is gearhead with very little knowledge of real photography if any knowledge at all.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #9
LBeacon1
Registered User
 
LBeacon1 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10
Thank you very much for all your replies - all of them hugely useful!

When I said the R3M doesn't have a light meter, I meant to say it doesn't have aperture priority. I'm used to having a relatively cosy amount of time to set my camera setting when taking portraits, and I don't know how quickly I'll be able to do it when I'm out on the street, hence why I think a camera with aperture priority would be best for me.

I'm heading out to LA next month, so I might have a chance to find the elusive R2A out there. Can anyone recommend any camera shops in Los Angeles that are working looking in?

Many thanks!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #10
LBeacon1
Registered User
 
LBeacon1 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Besides, a camera with all mechanical speeds and meter (like the R2M) is a better choice for street IMO...
Thanks for you reply - can you elaborate on this please? Why is having a camera with everything mechanical better for street? Wouldnt that mean that it takes longer to set setting correctly?

Thanks!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #11
Ko.Fe.
Kostya Fedot
 
Ko.Fe.'s Avatar
 
Ko.Fe. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MiltON.ONtario
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by LBeacon1 View Post
I'm heading out to LA next month, so I might have a chance to find the elusive R2A out there. Can anyone recommend any camera shops in Los Angeles that are working looking in?

Many thanks!


RFF bartender is one of the key persons in modern Bessa, Viogtlander history.
And based in LA.

https://www.cameraquest.com/
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #12
Juan Valdenebro
Truth is beauty
 
Juan Valdenebro's Avatar
 
Juan Valdenebro is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Barcelona and Colombia
Age: 47
Posts: 4,354
Hi, Ko.Fe., respecting your opinion as any other RFF member’s opinion, and I share yours generally, I just want to clarify mine to LBeacon1 as he’s new to RF’s and Street Photography:
AutoExposure was a commercial concept, but it simply doesn’t exist: what exists is an approximation to that concept, and it only works a small part of the times… A meter can’t know the settings you need: all it can tell you is the settings needed to make any scene a middle gray one in average on your negative and print. The scene was a white wall, you get a gray wall, the scene was a black car, you get a gray car… Meters were and are (even today) designed as a first step for the photographer to take the real decision, so letting a blind meter decide for you always, skipping the human part, the important part, is nothing more than a hit and miss attitude. Not a smart move at all… Only middle gray scenes will be well recorded on film. Why was it so popular? Because color film was a different technology: a more permissive one, one that with several stops of different exposure produced, chemically, an identical negative, and that’s far from B&W, which is indeed closer to slide film’s sensitivity to exposure, as can be seen on a contact print sheet... For serious B&W Street a correct negative is required for best tone printing.
Then, we all find sometimes AE can be a knife in our hearts… You’re there, in front of a great scene, and it lasts for a couple of seconds, so you have two options: you already had your camera manually set for the light you know, and you shoot instantly and get a wonderful negative, or you had your camera in Auto and you get a horribly underexposed negative, easily… That hurts when the scene was a special one we chase for months, or years…
Why use Auto for street black and white? It’s just not the best situation or kind of photography for that system because light is different here and there even on the same street or the same park or market… I’m talking about SEVERAL stops of difference in the same place…
Apart, a whole different subject: a mechanical shutter is more reliable, and another one: batteries are out of the equation, as electronic failures…
But, there’s another really important difference, possibly the most relevant one, as LBeacon1 is interested in Street: when we use Auto we don’t see or learn about light… I came to RFF possibly in 2008 or 2009, and had never used any RF and had never done Street even if I had done B&W for 20 years and had already cursed a six-year Phototography career… I was good for slow photography and for studio photography, but seriously, AE goes against understanding light and being good for street photography.
I remember I was about to buy an R4A back then, and Tom A. kindly told me here an R4M made more sense… His words changed my life, because those words made me start a totally new (to me) way of shooting… After these years I am a much better photographer because I took control, and I had spent 20 years being a blind photographer. I learned a lot more in two years than I had learned in twenty if we talk about the amount of light and its qualities, because when you don’t NEED to know about your settings every instant, you can’t remember or compare or learn.
Just what I lived…
Cheers,
Juan
__________________
F i l m means fun!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #13
markrich
Enthusiatic amatuer
 
markrich's Avatar
 
markrich is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Bristol, UK, European Union
Posts: 172
I bought mine from London Camera Exchange in Bristol but they do occasionally show up on the Web page, otherwise I guess the other option is the classified section of this site. Don't forget we're still part of the EU single market and you get the same warranty across all states with 2 years so don't forget to check the rest of the Union.

My 35mm f/1.4 voitlander lens was bought from Germany here on this site.
__________________

____________
Canon EOS30, Contax G2, Zorki 4, Zorki 4K, Bessa R2a, Lomo LC-A, Olympus XZ-1, Olympus OM2-SP, Olympus E-510, Sony RX100, Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and X-Pro 2
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #14
Ko.Fe.
Kostya Fedot
 
Ko.Fe.'s Avatar
 
Ko.Fe. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MiltON.ONtario
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
Hi, Ko.Fe., respecting your opinion as any other RFF member’s opinion, and I share yours generally, I just want to clarify mine to LBeacon1 as he’s new to RF’s and Street Photography:
AutoExposure was a commercial concept, but it simply doesn’t exist...
Take it easy and do not generalize in terms of all AE cameras.

My M-E AE is not something to trust on the street, but it doesn't mean where are no cameras with AE accurate for street photography. Same as OP my first street camera was with AE, but only with AE. Olympus XA. And it NEVER let me down in terms of exposure for hundreds of frames taken over couple of years under ANY light. Take it or not, it did.
And as for as I know from my experience in street photography with Bessas L, T and R it is accurate from first take in 99%.

John Free is know figure among street photographers. All he uses for decades is F series Nikon camera in AE mode. This allows him to use bw filters on the lens and concentrate on focusing (because SLR focusing of 50mm lens is something to be concentrated on, while it is no brainier with RF and 35mm lens ).

Also, believe it or not: R2A, M-E and J. Free's F are usable without AE, if dare to RTFullM.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #15
John Lawrence
Registered User
 
John Lawrence is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,847
Quote:
Originally Posted by LBeacon1 View Post

First question: Where on earth can you buy an R2A in the UK??
Aperture UK appear to have one:

http://www.apertureuk.com/Leica.html

(scroll down to the Voigtlander section)

Cheers,

John
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #16
markrich
Enthusiatic amatuer
 
markrich's Avatar
 
markrich is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Bristol, UK, European Union
Posts: 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Lawrence View Post
Aperture UK appear to have one:

http://www.apertureuk.com/Leica.html

(scroll down to the Voigtlander section)

Cheers,

John
Looks like someone just snapped that one up.
__________________

____________
Canon EOS30, Contax G2, Zorki 4, Zorki 4K, Bessa R2a, Lomo LC-A, Olympus XZ-1, Olympus OM2-SP, Olympus E-510, Sony RX100, Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and X-Pro 2
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #17
LBeacon1
Registered User
 
LBeacon1 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10
Thanks for all your comments!

How annoying that I just missed the R2A that was in Aperture! I go in there fairly regularly so it must have only just gone on sale!

The search continues...
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #18
Pioneer
Registered User
 
Pioneer's Avatar
 
Pioneer is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Age: 65
Posts: 3,112
The Zeiss Ikon (ZI) is a step up in price, but still not at Leica levels, yet provides excellent metering, aperture priority auto exposure and a highly accurate electronic shutter. And the viewfinder is like no other in the rangefinder world. Well worth the extra price if you can afford it.
__________________
You gotta love a fast lens;

It is almost as good as a fast horse!
Dan
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #19
Tom A
RFF Sponsor
 
Tom A's Avatar
 
Tom A is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Age: 76
Posts: 6,074
My only problem with AE cameras (Besa and Zeiss) is when the batteries goes - so does the camera! Always keep some spares in the pocket. Otherwise the R2A is a very good choice - good finder, good meter.
The Zeiss ZM is in a different ballpark. Most likely the best finder of any rangefinder ever. The bottom rewind is a bit of a bother, but the finder makes up for it! More money though.
Lens choice depends on your "point of view" - pun intended. The Color Skopar 50mm f2.5 is very good - but as stated, a bit "narrow". The Color Skopar 35f2.5 will hold its own against most 35's and is very small and compact. The indecisive alternative is one of the 40mm f1.4 Noktons (either Single coat or multicoated). You can use it as a slightly "long 35" or short 50 - and it has the speed for low light work.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #20
Juan Valdenebro
Truth is beauty
 
Juan Valdenebro's Avatar
 
Juan Valdenebro is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Barcelona and Colombia
Age: 47
Posts: 4,354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Take it easy and do not generalize in terms of all AE cameras.
Hi, Ko.Fe.,

First, the problem I stated was not different AE designs on different cameras, but different scenes from an optimal average one: and some of them including different levels of backlighting fooling meters... AE cameras above that don't exist.

Second, as I said in my previous post, sometimes AE can work, but some others, it just doesn't. And important scenes can be missed. Both things happen.

Third, I'm taking it easy: just love truth.

Fourth, yes, this is a general behaviour with AE, no matter the camera. I remain among those who prefer to think and decide.

If any forum member wants an R2A, it's a great camera as I wrote previously, but just not the best tool for street... Not for learning about light either... No problem, he's got a lot of time to live it, and chances are he´ll miss some important scenes because of AE sometimes...

This was not personal, not for a second, and it was not about your opinion or mine either: it was about AutoExposure exclusively.

Cheers,
Juan
__________________
F i l m means fun!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-24-2016   #21
Juan Valdenebro
Truth is beauty
 
Juan Valdenebro's Avatar
 
Juan Valdenebro is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Barcelona and Colombia
Age: 47
Posts: 4,354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Same as OP my first street camera was with AE, but only with AE. Olympus XA. And it NEVER let me down in terms of exposure for hundreds of frames taken over couple of years under ANY light. Take it or not, it did.
My XA, as yours, has the +1.5 exposure compensation lever just for the reasons I explained. Because with plain AE it doesn't do a good job always.

The problem is sometimes we have no time for moving the lever.
If AE was the best way, all Leicas would have it, or even closer to your position, would have it only, without manual. What for manual mode, if AE is that good?

Cheers,
Juan
__________________
F i l m means fun!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-25-2016   #22
LukeBanks
Registered User
 
LukeBanks's Avatar
 
LukeBanks is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: London
Posts: 82
Hi LBeacon1,

Short answer.. they're a hassle to track down in the UK now. 9 months ago I wanted an R2M but had no luck anywhere. Aperture had a mint R3A so I went for that instead. The aperture priority has been used more than expected, works well and is very handy at times.

I've always shot 50mm so love the 1:1 viewfinder but if you're shooting street then a 35mm might be better and the 1:1 only goes down to 40mm so might not be for you.

I wouldn't be too picky to begin with if I were you as the choice will be very few and far between, but they do come up eventually so be patient. A or M models both have their pros and cons, I ended up with the opposite of what I wanted and I'm still happy.

If Aperture get any in then I would highly recommend them, they've been great for me. I know they have a 40mm Nokton in there at the moment so I'm doing my best to avoid the place..
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-25-2016   #23
Bille
Registered User
 
Bille's Avatar
 
Bille is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Age: 41
Posts: 752
Quote:
Originally Posted by LBeacon1 View Post
I don't have a large budget but it looks like a Bessa R2A would work for me, with it's built in lightmeter and more of a solid body than the R
You could buy a used M6 and sell at no loss if you dont like it.
__________________
www.endzeit.de
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-25-2016   #24
valdas
Registered User
 
valdas is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,391
I sold R2A a few weeks ago here on RFF (buyer was in UK) - wanted to replace it by fully manual camera. After some looking around the deal came my way locally (in Lithuania) - R2A again with 15mm Heliar (500€ for the combo), so I ended up buying back the same model. There are some aspects I don't like about R2A, but overall it is a great camera. Yes, you are dependent on a battery, but then despite what Juan says about AE drawbacks it can still be a convenient feature, plus you can always switch to manual or use exposure compensation if you feel that AE would be lying for a given light condition.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-25-2016   #25
Ko.Fe.
Kostya Fedot
 
Ko.Fe.'s Avatar
 
Ko.Fe. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MiltON.ONtario
Posts: 7,285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Valdenebro View Post
My XA, as yours, has the +1.5 exposure compensation lever just for the reasons I explained. Because with plain AE it doesn't do a good job always.

The problem is sometimes we have no time for moving the lever.
If AE was the best way, all Leicas would have it, or even closer to your position, would have it only, without manual. What for manual mode, if AE is that good?

Cheers,
Juan
XA never failed me under any possible light just by pressing shutter release button. I have no idea why it doesn't work for you same way.

I also have used Bessa R for street photography as well, all I was doing is rotating shutter speed wheel and aperture and waiting for the blink of "o". It was giving me perfectly exposed "street" pictures. But I ditched R for M as soon as I realized what I lost the possibility to S16. And it is not allowed for "street photography" Jedi. And how could you control the power of light to fight tough on the street Jedi style if camera is in AE! Right? This is what we are after.

But guess what, before you and I become RFF self-proclaimed street gurus, unaware about our future geniusity people of eighties and nineties were taking snapshot pictures with film P&S cameras. It was very cheap AE, no M cameras. It is hard to accept it now, from our street guru pedestals, but millions pictures which were taken on the street by complete amateurs came absolutely right in terms of exposure.


Hugs,
Konstantin.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-26-2016   #26
LBeacon1
Registered User
 
LBeacon1 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10
Thanks again for your thoughts - lots of really useful stuff here!

I am slightly tempted to get an M2, looking at the prices on eBay. I can't afford an Zeiss Ikon (and there doesn't seem to be many available), but it looks like I can pick up an M2 for around £600. I do lose the light meter though...

Hmmmm, decisions decisions! It would be much easier if there were actually R2As available to buy in the UK!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-26-2016   #27
tbhv55
Registered User
 
tbhv55 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Devon, UK
Age: 63
Posts: 585
Quote:
Originally Posted by LBeacon1 View Post

Hmmmm, decisions decisions! It would be much easier if there were actually R2As available to buy in the UK!
I've just seen one advertised - if you're interested, PM me for details.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-26-2016   #28
LBeacon1
Registered User
 
LBeacon1 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10
I may have the chance to buy an R4A. I know the difference on paper in specifications, but can anyone tell me the differences when it comes to actually using one?

Many thanks!
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-26-2016   #29
mpaniagua
Registered User
 
mpaniagua's Avatar
 
mpaniagua is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Age: 46
Posts: 1,065
umm R4A is mostly useful if you are fond on wide lenses and autoexp. Otherwise, stick with the R2A (R4 is more expensive and if you dont use wide lens that much, I guess R2 or R3 will be more useful).

Cheers.

Marcelo
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-26-2016   #30
LukeBanks
Registered User
 
LukeBanks's Avatar
 
LukeBanks is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: London
Posts: 82
The R4A would be great if you only shoot wide. If not you might regret it.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-26-2016   #31
mpaniagua
Registered User
 
mpaniagua's Avatar
 
mpaniagua is offline
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Age: 46
Posts: 1,065
Quote:
Originally Posted by LukeBanks View Post
The R4A would be great if you only shoot wide. If not you might regret it.
Exactly. 50mm is the less widest frameline it have. Cant use 90mm lens on it, so if you do portrait you will be limited or camera could be a hydrance.

Marcelo
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-26-2016   #32
Tompas
Wannabe Künstler
 
Tompas's Avatar
 
Tompas is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Ostfriesland - Northwestern Germany
Posts: 551
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
Exactly. 50mm is the less widest frameline it have. (...)
And it is very, very small, too small to be of use in any situation except an emergency (no other camera with you and the subject absolutely demands a 50mm lens).

The R4a/R4m is really a camera vor wide angles. I use it with 21 and 28mm lenses. Perfect.

(For a 50 the R3a/R3m is perfect. And for a 35mm the R2a/R2m. Yes, I have them all.)
__________________
-- Thomas
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-26-2016   #33
Doug
Moderator
 
Doug's Avatar
 
Doug is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Pacific NW, USA
Posts: 13,011
The Bessa R4 is unique in history in offering a 21mm frameline at the wide end. This is very useful for those who like wide lenses but dislike add-on viewfinders for them! I have an R4A, excellent also with 24/25, 35, and 50mm lenses. Longer lenses actually can be used but you'd want one of those add-on viewfinders...
__________________
Doug’s Gallery
RFF on Facebook
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 00:01.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.