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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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Bessa A Series discontinued
Old 06-24-2013   #1
jonmanjiro
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Bessa A Series discontinued

Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere yet, but I just spotted the following announcement on Cosina's Japanese language website here. I guess this means the Leica M7 is the last AE film rangefinder still standing (though I doubt Leica is making many of them these days anyway). If you're thinking of buying a new A series Bessa, grab one while you can!

***********************************************

2013.06.10
【生産終了案内】BESSA Aシリーズが生産終了しました

10th June, 2013
[Notice of discontinuation] The Bessa A series has been discontinued.

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Old 06-24-2013   #2
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That's interesting ... kind of makes you wonder what the future of the M models is?

This must be connected with the demise of the Zeiss Ikon I suspect as the shutter mechanisms would have been very similar.

Sad news IMO and I sense that Cosina may be heading towards being solely a lens manufacturer.
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Old 06-24-2013   #3
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As the owner of an R4A, this makes me sad. I've wanted to pick up an M as well just to have an extra piece of gear with no need for batteries on hand, but now it makes me want to try and score a R2A or R3A series body too.
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Old 06-24-2013   #4
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The "rangefinder renaissance" started in the 90s is coming to a conclusion.
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Old 06-24-2013   #5
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Unless they are fixing to make a FF digital mirrorless RF that will mount all those fantastic lenses...Bessa DRF-1
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Old 06-24-2013   #6
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for those who did not notice,
the 2M, 3M, 4M series Voigtlander Bessa cameras were lowered $100 in price to help keep them in production

A series cameras are strictly stock on hand,
-- the factory has none left --

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Old 06-24-2013   #7
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Well I was considering selling my R3A and R4A.... but now...
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Old 06-24-2013   #8
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That's a real shame, given their position as the most affordable AE M-mount camera. (I don't tend to count the CLE due to limited framelines and repair issues)

I'd be really interested to see some sales data on the Bessa A series vs the M series. Given many RF shooters' preference for cameras that work without batteries, perhaps the M series sold a lot better?
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Old 06-24-2013   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonemantis View Post
perhaps the M series sold a lot better?
You might be right. My preference has been AE for cameras. I sold an MP and kept the M7 which some might find crazy, but I find I work quicker with AE on the street. Maybe just lazy. But I find the AE pretty spot on and know enough to adjust or lock to get a better exposure if needed.

I think I'm the oddball though. The M versions seem to have held a price premium over the A and the M's don't show up for sale too often.
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Old 06-24-2013   #10
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It amazes me to think that the M7 is now the only AE film RF you can buy because they cost an arm and a leg and I'd bet there's not many going out the door at Solms these days. How long Cosina keeps making the M model is anybody's guess but it obviously won't be forever!

This is a sign of the times. I think back to how hard core this place was about rangefinders when I joined in 2006 and how it is now. There is still a healthy core of film rangefinder users here but they are certainly now being buried in the digital alternatives ... particularly mirrorless.
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Old 06-24-2013   #11
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It is kind of scary to think about what it will be like in another 8 years.
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Old 06-24-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contarama View Post
It is kind of scary to think about what it will be like in another 8 years.

I hate to sound like a doomsayer regarding the future of film but with reasonably priced new film cameras slowly disappearing from the market ...

Luckily I guess we're currently knee deep in used ones that still work!
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Old 06-24-2013   #13
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Quote:
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Luckily I guess we're currently knee deep in used ones that still work!
I think this really sums it up. Shooting film these days is all about used cameras, and almost any kind of camera you could want is available used for relatively reasonable prices.

The only reason to buy new seems to be either that you have cash to burn and want to support the makers of film cameras like Cosina or Leica, or that you're really averse to shooting something that once belonged to someone else. In which case, enjoy your new a la carte M!
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Old 06-24-2013   #14
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Did anyone notice that the Fujifilm Klasse S and W models also seem to be discontinued (disappeared might be a better word)?

Fujifilm still lists them as current models on their website here. But of the two big camera stores in Tokyo, Map Camera only lists the Klasse W, and Fujiya Camera doesn't list either.
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Old 06-24-2013   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
Did anyone notice that the Fujifilm Klasse S and W models also seem to be discontinued (disappeared might be a better word)?

Fujifilm still lists them as current models on their website here. But of the two big camera stores in Tokyo, Map Camera only lists the Klasse W, and Fujiya Camera doesn't list either.

Out of curiosity Jon is the F6 still available from Nikon?
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Old 06-24-2013   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Out of curiosity Jon is the F6 still available from Nikon?
It is Keith, but production was down to 50 cameras a month in February 2012 so I doubt they're selling many. Especially when used F6s are now selling for almost peanuts. See here.
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Old 06-24-2013   #17
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Quote:
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Out of curiosity Jon is the F6 still available from Nikon?
How about the F100 or FM10 available new at least a few years ago?

Does Canon still make the EOS 1V?

SLRs I know but...
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Old 06-24-2013   #18
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A 42.5/0.95 for M43 was also announced silently...

Cosina needs more publicity isn't it?
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Old 06-24-2013   #19
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it's inevitable now that we have cameras like the fuji x100s.

more and more, it's medium and large formats that people still want to shoot with film. who wants a new voigtlander brilliant?
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Old 06-24-2013   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
it's inevitable now that we have cameras like the fuji x100s.

more and more, it's medium and large formats that people still want to shoot with film. who wants a new voigtlander brilliant?

Me ... the film advance knob is broken on mine!
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Old 06-24-2013   #21
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Quote:
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50/month is still surprising in itself. That's 600 a year. Still better than 0 a year, though.
Nikon was making 200 F6s per month in October 2007. They originally planned to make 5,000 per month.
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Old 06-24-2013   #22
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If a company like Nikon can only sell fifty F6s per month I have to wonder how many film cameras Leica are selling ... it may be more due the man jewelery factor though I guess!

Nikon need to make the F6 more desirable ... or release the SP rangefinder again.
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Old 06-24-2013   #23
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50/mo is mightily impressive, considering that I'm sure most people who would be inclined to use them would have bought them when they were recently released...

Shame about the -A models, though. Maybe too much to hope that they have a new replacement coming out soon, heh? I think the mechanical stuff being preferred is likely a big factor in their discontinuation (along with the ZI shared(?) shutter parts). Enough time has gone by that people have realized that dead electronics often mean dead cameras (shortage of irreplaceable parts like microchips or circuit boards). That's one of the big reasons that the mechanical cameras enjoy the faith people put in them. For example, (I'm not saying that the FE2 isn't a great camera, but) FM2s cost considerably more than their counterparts because they're fixable. If an FE2 dies from an electrical gremlin, it's not cost-effective to fix.

The younger generation has realized this from growing up with digital stuff and understand that most stuff that requires specialized circuitry has turned into a case of "throw away and replace," which is why despite the newer/final generation of AF film cameras (or most cameras that require a battery for more than just powering the meter) are now insanely cheap and crazy bargains compared to their prices when released originally. My friend and I were recently comparing depreciation, and laughing at how both of our AF film cameras (my N80 and his EOS 500n) had depreciated to virtually nothing. I forget the numbers, but he bought his camera body for $10 , compared to costing roughly $800 in modern-day USD, whereas my N80 body was $30 and cost about $900 in 2013 equivalent dollars. I haven't done a comparisons or my FM2n, but I can't imagine it possibly being less than 1/80(!!!!) of it's original purchase price. Nor have I considered depreciation on my Leica/'Blad equipment (which admittedly is steep and both were insanely expensive when new, but both have likely retained a larger proportion of their value).
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Old 06-24-2013   #24
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This is sad news - the Bessa R3A was my first 'real' RF camera (not counting my Yashica GT) and really got me into Rangefinders in a big way. Unfortunately I sold it a few years ago to fund my M2....

Not sure what the future holds for new film cameras - yes there are plenty secondhand cameras about but these will not last forever (I'm talking years now) and it's nice to hold a brand new camera in your hands knowing that any future marks, scrapes, dirt etc is exclusively your own making!

I do see Cosina stopping production of all cameras to concentrate solely on lenses - in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they massively reduced their portfolio of M compatible lenses and concentrated their core production on CSC mounts as this appears to be where the market is now. (With the price of the Leica M so high, if you can afford to buy the body, you are sure to be able to afford Leica glass!)
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Old 06-25-2013   #25
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Well, I hope Cosina stay in the film camera business, they keep prices reasonable and show a lot more innovative thought than most (21mm framelines built in).
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Old 06-25-2013   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
If a company like Nikon can only sell fifty F6s per month I have to wonder how many film cameras Leica are selling ... it may be more due the man jewelery factor though I guess!

Nikon need to make the F6 more desirable ... or release the SP rangefinder again.
Well, the digital equivalent of an F6 (the D700) costs a reasonable $1500 or so; the digital equivalent of an M7 costs yer firstborn child. Not surprising that the M7 seems like a bargain in comparison.

Perhaps I'll grab myself an R3A for old times' sake.
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Old 06-25-2013   #27
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This is the news I've been dreading.

I've had my R2a for almost 10 years now, love it and use it constantly still. So much so I added an R4a to it a few years ago, but now it seems I won't be able to replace them new if something should happen to them.

I've just had a look on the Robert White site and see that they've dropped the price of Bessas by 200! Unfortunately for me there's no R2a or R3a on there anymore.

Does anyone know of anywhere in the UK or EU (outside of ebay) that sells new Bessas?

With the demise of the Zeiss Ikon, Hassleblad V system and now the Bessa A, it's been a bad year for film. All that's needed now is for Mamiya to discontinue the 7II...
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Old 06-25-2013   #28
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Quote:
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Well, the digital equivalent of an F6 (the D700)
Not that it really matters or anything but isn't the digital equivalent of the F6 the D3 line (and the F100 the D700)? But I see your point exactly. haha
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Old 06-25-2013   #29
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sad news yes, but I bet cry will be louder the M series follows. Leica probably will remain longest living dinosaur with MP.
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Old 06-25-2013   #30
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Does anyone know of anywhere in the UK or EU (outside of ebay) that sells new Bessas?
Ffordes have the full range new and some 2nd hand - haven't cut their prices, though
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Old 06-25-2013   #31
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Ffordes have the full range new and some 2nd hand - haven't cut their prices, though
Foto Mundus is both on eBay and have online shop (in German).
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Old 06-25-2013   #32
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...All that's needed now is for Mamiya to discontinue the 7II...
I assumed they already had!
It's quite nice to know I'm shooting an in-production camera for a change. Not that it would make any real difference to me if they stop.

I agree that medium format will be the last bastion of film as IMHO there isn't a satisfactory digital substitute and I can't see anybody producing a 6x7 48bit sensor any time soon.





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Old 06-25-2013   #33
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Not that it really matters or anything but isn't the digital equivalent of the F6 the D3 line (and the F100 the D700)? But I see your point exactly. haha
I don't really think so - I always saw the D3 as the successor to the F5 (pro-camera-cum-melee-weapon), the D700 following the F6 (top-end enthusiast model), and the D200 taking over the F100's role (for enthusiasts without a trust fund).

But I could very well be wrong.
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Old 06-25-2013   #34
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I thought the D3 was literally an F6 with digital sensor crammed in... Or the F6 was a D3 with all the digital imaging stuff stripped and replaced with film drivetrain. I may be mistaken, but I remember reading somewhere that they were developed in tandem with the idea that they were to be semi-modular.
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Old 06-25-2013   #35
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I thought the D3 was literally an F6 with digital sensor crammed in... Or the F6 was a D3 with all the digital imaging stuff stripped and replaced with film drivetrain. I may be mistaken, but I remember reading somewhere that they were developed in tandem with the idea that they were to be semi-modular.

There's a very good interview with the designer of the F6 somewhere on the web and from what I gather the F6 was a progression from the F5 with the pork removed.

Back to the subject at hand ... I wonder how the Bessa lll will fare in the long term?
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Old 06-25-2013   #36
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... I wonder how the Bessa lll will fare in the long term?
Hopefully it will drop in price so I can add one to my collection.
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Old 06-25-2013   #37
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The good thing at least about film cameras is that they can be put together with quite rudimentary manufacturing techniques. For example, cameras like Fotoman, Dayi, etc. are basically large format lenses on a light-tight back. It's not suitable for everyone, but at least it's possible to make film cameras in very small numbers, with simple machinery.
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Old 06-25-2013   #38
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As long as film cameras can be fixed (and that should be forever), there will always be film cameras.
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Old 06-25-2013   #39
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The "rangefinder renaissance" started in the 90s is coming to a conclusion.
Unfortunately, yes.
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Old 06-25-2013   #40
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Unfortunately, yes.
Just cause one line of CV's is discontinued. That's a bit of a jump IMHO.
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