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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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I Kind of Want a Bessa R4a. Am I Crazy?
Old 10-24-2019   #1
davidde1000
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I Kind of Want a Bessa R4a. Am I Crazy?

I am a long time Leica M system user (M7/M3/CL) and I also used a Hexar RF but it was stolen many years ago.

I do not know why all of a sudden I am intrigued by the R4a. Should I be? Are they great? Are they terrible? Is the wide VF really useable for 21s & 25s? Where can you even find one anymore?
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Old 10-24-2019   #2
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great camera for the wde angle shooter.
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Old 10-24-2019   #3
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One thing you will need to know, if it is not small lens, your VF might be compromised.
Also if you have never hold these series in hand, it is nowhere near Leica. It is build on entry level SLR platform. Handling and usage shows it.
I have my R2M purchased for the price of user M3. R4А is over one thousand usd now. On eBay.
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Old 10-24-2019   #4
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Just got my R4A in the mail today to use with my Voigtlander 21mm. Honestly can already tell it's a dream setup if you mainly shoot wides. I think I'm going to like it enough with my 21mm/35mm/50mm to sell my olive R2. Taking it out shooting for the first time tomorrow.

The VF is super big and bright and definitely beats having a stupid external VF mounted on the hotshoe. The finish is strange...feels plasticy. The R2 feels nicer in the hand but I'll take the wide framelines of the R4A any day over a slightly nicer hand feel.
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Old 10-24-2019   #5
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If you like shooting wide they are amazing. I had one and really liked it ... they also have a very good build quality in my opinion.
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Old 10-24-2019   #6
jpa66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidde1000 View Post
I am a long time Leica M system user (M7/M3/CL) and I also used a Hexar RF but it was stolen many years ago.

I do not know why all of a sudden I am intrigued by the R4a. Should I be? Are they great? Are they terrible? Is the wide VF really usable for 21s & 25s? Where can you even find one anymore?
Yes - you are crazy. You should get the R4M

Seriously, the R4 is a great camera if you shoot wides. I like the M better because it's (wait for it) fully mechanical. Yes, it will work without batteries (not the meter, though). Loved it on the Voigt 25mm and, even though the 50mm finder is pretty small, I used an old Canon 50mm on it a lot.

I'd still have mine if I hadn't gotten an SLR that replaced all rangefinders for me (the Nikon FM3a).
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Old 10-24-2019   #7
Yokosuka_Mike
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A few years ago my wife and I were in Taipei, Taiwan and we visited the official Voigtlander distributor there.
https://www.camera-sharp.com/default.php

He had a new-in-box R4A for around $700.00 USD. The only problem was that he wanted cash instead of a credit card payment. I had the money but that was about all I had for walking around cash and I didn’t want to spend it all right then and there. I told him I’d try and get back to him before we left Taiwan but regetabley that didn’t happen.

I did buy a Voigtlander VM/E Close Focus Adapter from him for cheaper than I could get back in Japan or on-line.

Anyway, if one finds themself in Taipei, Taiwan the “‘Camera-Sharp” store is well worth checking out. There are also many other camera stores in the same area.

All the best,
Mike

P.S. If you’re in Taiwan and you’re a whisky drinker the Taiwanese Kavalan single malt whisky is a real treat! Best to pick up a bottle at duty free when you leave the country.
http://www.kavalanwhisky.com/en/main.aspx
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Old 10-24-2019   #8
Huss
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I didnt like my R3A because that was essentially the equivalent of any old Leica. But worse.
But the R4 kameras bring that wide angle capability to the table that Leicas do not natively have so that makes them awesome.
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Old 10-24-2019   #9
nlubis
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No you're not. I had (still) the same urge, but price has not been favorable.
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Old 10-24-2019   #10
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Back in the mists of time, circa 2008, I was visiting a friend who showed me his R3M, upon which was mounted his Zeiss 35/2 Biogon. It felt pretty decent, and I was intrigued by how it worked; it was the first time I had really handled a rangefinder, despite having seen them online for some time.


It became apparent that I was going to buy my first rangefinder, so I looked at the Voigtlanders, Zeiss and Leica. Leica was way too expensive for me at that stage, especially for a camera style I'd never really used. I settled on the Zeiss Ikon because of the huge viewfinder, and loved it. Having said that, I feel like one or two Bessa bodies would be fun, too! They have a really interesting visual design that you don't see in any other camera.
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Old 10-24-2019   #11
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Cosina have produced two cameras of real note in my opinion ... the other one though not a Bessa was the Zeiss Ikon.
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Old 10-24-2019   #12
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Owned one years ago. The camera itself is great (especially the clean uncluttered 28mm view) except the new matte grey paint finish, which chips easily. Its biggest culprit is the current going price - all Bessas had doubled in price in the past 2-3 years, but R4a/R4m, being the youngest child in the family with fewest copies around, command even higher price than previous models due to rarity. You'll always be able to find one somewhere, but be prepared to pay dearly.

Personally I'd just go with a external viewfinder...at least for now.
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Old 10-24-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Cosina have produced two cameras of real note in my opinion ... the other one though not a Bessa was the Zeiss Ikon.
And the other...

Bessaflex?
FM10?
667w?


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Old 10-25-2019   #14
zenza
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I just want to say I bought my very mint R4A for $650 last week off another popular photography forum. Certainly way better than the $1200+ the eBay Buy It Now prices are. Deals are out there if you're patient. The sell for similar prices ($600-$700) when the odd auction for one pops up on eBay.
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Old 10-28-2019   #15
davidde1000
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Thanks for the responses, everyone. I will be on the lookout for one.
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Old 10-28-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpa66 View Post
...... You should get the R4M

Seriously, the R4 is a great camera if you shoot wides. I like the M better because it's (wait for it) fully mechanical. Yes, it will work without batteries (not the meter, though)......

Another vote for the R4M. I have several cameras that are unfixable because the electronics are unavailable. I'm avoiding electronics when there is an option. I now have a beautiful French range in my kitchen which is totally free of electronics, not like my previous "state of the art" Gaggenau for which "sorry, it's over 10 years old and parts are not available."
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