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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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New Member, New Bessa T!
Old 12-16-2019   #1
agentlossing
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New Member, New Bessa T!

Hello folks, I thought I'd start a thread to relate my thoughts about the Voigtlander Bessa T, which is currently on its way to me from Japan. I have been watching M and M39 mount rangefinders for quite a while and finally caved for one of the Heliar 101 kits. I honestly don't know that I will keep the 50mm f3.5, but I am really itching to at least try it out. Same goes for the T, I want to see how easily I can use the rangefinder in concert with the VF.

I have shot digital and film for quite a while, but sort of took a long hiatus from film after every development option in my area became a wait of at least a couple weeks (plus I live half an hour from the nearest location, so it's an extra trip included for both drop-off and pick-up). Recently, however, I decided to jump back in with B&W film and do the developing myself - at this point, I've just been using Cinestill's DF96 Monobath, super easy to use, but am enjoying my results without getting any more complicated. I use an Epson V550 to scan the negatives. It's not a bad system, and minimal in the amount of equipment and space required. Mainly I am using the Ricoh 500G fixed-lens rangefinder for my latest film stuff.

I'll check back in with my impressions of the T! Nice to find a forum dedicated to RF use!
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Old 12-16-2019   #2
mpaniagua
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Welcome to the forum!.

I use my Bessa T from time to time. I think is one of the most neglected of the M Bessas. I find the rangefinder pretty nice on use. Since I'm used to viewfinder from my Leica LTM cameras, for me it not big issue that it lacks a viewfinder. Also mine is green so I like it very much. Only issue I have with it is strap holes position. It makes for a backward postiion when having it around your need. Camera twist to the front so not that comfortable. Otherwise a great and fun camera to use, especially for wide lens.

Have fun.

Regards

Marcelo
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Old 12-16-2019   #3
Ko.Fe.
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Good!

Check T's VF shoe as soon as you will mount something on it. It became loose within two rolls on mine T. And google knew how to fix it already by the time I asked .
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Old 12-16-2019   #4
agentlossing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpaniagua View Post
Welcome to the forum!.

I use my Bessa T from time to time. I think is one of the most neglected of the M Bessas. I find the rangefinder pretty nice on use. Since I'm used to viewfinder from my Leica LTM cameras, for me it not big issue that it lacks a viewfinder. Also mine is green so I like it very much. Only issue I have with it is strap holes position. It makes for a backward postiion when having it around your need. Camera twist to the front so not that comfortable. Otherwise a great and fun camera to use, especially for wide lens.

Have fun.

Regards

Marcelo
Mine is green as well! Those colors and especially the Heliar collapsing lens just look so good. My kit includes the VF, and 50mm viewfinders are hard to find it seems. So I may replace the Heliar with something cheaper and faster like a Canon 50mm f1.8, but I'll keep the viewfinder! Maybe the heavier lens elements will straighten out the camera a little on the strap.
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Old 12-16-2019   #5
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Good!

Check T's VF shoe as soon as you will mount something on it. It became loose within two rolls on mine T. And google knew how to fix it already by the time I asked .
Thanks for the tip!
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Old 12-16-2019   #6
aizan
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Give the Heliar a chance! You can learn how to scale-focus-by-feel (SFxF) and do street photography.
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Old 12-16-2019   #7
Larry H-L
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Welcome Agent!

You chose a nice outfit, the Heliar is great. Lots of knowledge on the forum here.
I think I bought an m4/3 body from you a couple of years back.. I still carry it daily.
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Old 12-16-2019   #8
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Welcome to the farm....I mean forum.
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Old 12-16-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
Give the Heliar a chance! You can learn how to scale-focus-by-feel (SFxF) and do street photography.
Thanks, it is a beautiful lens, but it seems like that's where most of the value of the kit lies, and it'll be a stretch to the current budget should I decide to keep it. It does seem like an ideal lens for street, and is disarmingly old-fashioned looking to boot. But I'll have to weigh the value of the Heliar vs, say, a ~$100-150 Canon 50mm LTM lens.
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Old 12-16-2019   #10
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Originally Posted by Larry H-L View Post
Welcome Agent!

You chose a nice outfit, the Heliar is great. Lots of knowledge on the forum here.
I think I bought an m4/3 body from you a couple of years back.. I still carry it daily.
Thank you! I do recognize your name from the Mu-43 site, and do recall either a body or lens deal between us. Glad to hear it.
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Old 12-16-2019   #11
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Welcome to RFF! My Bessa T is a chrome one but I do have the 3.5/50mm Heliar. It's a very fine lens, though funky looking and can be a little awkward to use. Same for the Bessa T! I generally leave it extended while out shooting, and fold it in only when completely done.

One reviewer stated it was the sharpest 50mm lens he'd ever tested, and I can't argue with that, but will add that it has a pleasant rendering as well. I was just using mine on a Leica M240 last week.
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Old 12-16-2019   #12
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Good to make an acquaintance, Agent. I got the T for using the wide and super-wide lenses on since I already had the zoom finder. That way I can use the regular focal lengths on the M4-P. Now I just need a larger bag to be able to haul both bodies.

BTW, I have the Trigger Winder-T in olive. I ordered it for my olive Bessa-R without checking first if it even took the darn thing. I could use it on my T or R2S, but they're black, and the olive just looks so wrong with them.

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Old 12-17-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug View Post
Welcome to RFF! My Bessa T is a chrome one but I do have the 3.5/50mm Heliar. It's a very fine lens, though funky looking and can be a little awkward to use. Same for the Bessa T! I generally leave it extended while out shooting, and fold it in only when completely done.

One reviewer stated it was the sharpest 50mm lens he'd ever tested, and I can't argue with that, but will add that it has a pleasant rendering as well. I was just using mine on a Leica M240 last week.
I have heard the claims of sharpest 50mm as well, so I am really curious to try it out. I have to think the oddball shape will keep folks from caring whether I seem to be including them in shots. Generally I find the more "old-timey" a camera looks the less people get up in arms about street photographs.
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Old 12-17-2019   #14
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Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Good to make an acquaintance, Agent. I got the T for using the wide and super-wide lenses on since I already had the zoom finder. That way I can use the regular focal lengths on the M4-P. Now I just need a larger bag to be able to haul both bodies.

BTW, I have the Trigger Winder-T in olive. I ordered it for my olive Bessa-R without checking first if it even took the darn thing. I could use it on my T or R2S, but they're black, and the olive just looks so wrong with them.

PF
How is the trigger winder in use? I've handled one of the Canon rangefinders that had one built in, but it felt a little clunky to me, I am unsure how it would fit into the shooting experience. Although if nothing else it would provide a chunkier grip. Does it render the normal winder unusable when installed, or can you still use the top-mount winder?
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Old 12-17-2019   #15
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You can still use the top thumb-winder with the trigger winder grip installed, but I've found that's not a good thing to do. Through force of habit I've sometimes used the thumb wind and had the winder jam up. Maybe just my camera at fault, but I suppose the trigger winder adds some drag to the mechanism when using the thumb wind. I've applied some gaffer tape to the winder to immobilize it.
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Old 12-17-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentlossing View Post
How is the trigger winder in use? I've handled one of the Canon rangefinders that had one built in, but it felt a little clunky to me, I am unsure how it would fit into the shooting experience. Although if nothing else it would provide a chunkier grip. Does it render the normal winder unusable when installed, or can you still use the top-mount winder?
I'd say it's not as ergonomic as a Rapidwinder on an M, nor as robust, but it is convenient. Not clunky, just handles a little different than what I'm used to. I'd still get a black one to use. What is good about them is it is a faster way of advancing the film when you don't want to be distracted by using the regular winding advance which may cause you to take your eye away from the viewfinder.

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Old 12-20-2019   #17
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Just received, I did a little "unboxing" on my humble blog: https://thesprocketdocket.wordpress....boxing-photos/

What a beautiful little kit!
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Old 12-20-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agentlossing View Post
Just received, I did a little "unboxing" on my humble blog: https://thesprocketdocket.wordpress....boxing-photos/

What a beautiful little kit!
Fantastic! Just in time for Christmas too!

I have the same set. One thing about the olive green Bessa T that is different from other Bessa cameras is that the back door is reinforced. I wish all Bessas were the same.

All the best,
Mike
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Old 12-22-2019   #19
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Originally Posted by agentlossing View Post
Just received, I did a little "unboxing" on my humble blog: https://thesprocketdocket.wordpress....boxing-photos/

What a beautiful little kit!

That is a good looking kit. Plenty of lenses out there to choose from too, especially in the Voigtlander line.


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Old 01-02-2020   #20
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Update, I haven't had much time to shoot film, I did shoot one roll of expired Superia 400 but haven't been able to get it developed yet. I need a chance to run a roll of HP5+ through it and develop it, maybe I'll catch a break this weekend.

I have decided to part with the Heliar 50mm lens and the viewfinder, I think I will be happier with a 35mm lens. The Heliar is beautiful, seriously. Even though it's not a Leica I feel like this weighty metal and glass piece of miniaturized perfection really speaks to the ideals of the Leica. I'd love to keep it and dream of putting it on a digital Leica, but let's get real, I won't be able to afford that for years. And 50mm is a little tight for my taste.

The viewfinder is likewise super well made, but this special edition version has very limited eye relief and doesn't work with glasses. Amazing build and finish, however.

I think I will end up with the Viogt Color-Skopar 35mm, which looks super small and seems to have a good reputation as a lens with a lot of utility. I have a couple options already for a 35mm viewfinder.
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Old 01-02-2020   #21
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I use 35 framed VF from crapped out XA2. Plenty of crapped out XA on eBay. Belly up Minox 35 should be even more plenty.

I used CS 25 f4 M version with matching OEM VF on T. Not very expensive lens/VF kit..
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Old 01-02-2020   #22
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I've got the Color-Skopar in LTM, and I must say it handles much better than the Summaron. Haven't used it enough yet to have an opinion on the rendering qualities of the two.


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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #23
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Alright, I think I have assembled the kit that I want, for now at least! I have the T plus LTM 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar plus the (plastic-bodied) Voigtlander 35mm viewfinder. I've developed one roll of HP5+ since getting it together and I have to say I like it a lot.

img464-2 by Andrew Lossing, on Flickr
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