A painting of me

Buying a Bessa

   17 January 2008, mid-morning

Yesterday evening was busy. After having decided to buy a Bessa I found one used on Craigslist going for $450: If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is. $450 may sound pricey for a camera without an LCD display and Mega-Pixels and all that junk, but you’ll have to believe me when I tell you that $450 is a deal. Still, being an avid negotiator I emailed the seller asking if he’d sell it for $400. He replied with $425 and we had a deal. I was off after work to grab my new camera.

I asked the seller why he was getting rid of the R2A. I think when buying used gear it’s good to find out why the person doesn’t want it anymore. (I have faith in people not to lie out their asses.) When I bought my 17-40L the seller wanted to buy some prime lenses to take photos of his baby indoors — clearly he didn’t need a slow wide-angle zoom anymore. This fellow was selling this range-finder because he never used it’s auto-exposure modes. Also, he already had not one, but two Leicas. Son of a bitch.

Actually no, the fellow was quite friendly. We met in the lobby of his building and he explained the ins and outs of the Bessa, and compared it to his Leicas. All three cameras had very bright viewfinders, though the 50 year old M3 seemed to be the winner in that department. The controls are what’d you’d expect from any old film camera. Of course, I need to grab a lens and start taking photos to really form an opinion on the camera. The R2A is a nice solid camera, but the Leicas he had were really something else: you could bludgeon someone to death with that M3.

After parting ways I was off to see Magneta Lane play at the Rivoli.



  1. Thats a good deal for the R2A. You buying Voigtlander lenses or splurging on a Leica?! ; )

  2. No splurging. I really don’t even have money for this camera. My plan is to get a Cosina-Voigtlander Color-Skopar 35mm f/2.5. There is a shop in Montreal that sells them for $300, which beats however many thousands a Leica 35mm costs.

  3. Just read your reply in the last thread…

    I bought a used Bessa R but at that point didn’t have a lens. And then I got a good offer for it and sold it. Also the Bessa R was a LTM mount and not the M mount as your R2A. Successive cameras since the Bessa R are much better than the older models. The Bessa R just didn’t feel right in my hand.

    The 35mm f2.5 CV lens is cheap and quality — an excellent choice. But its also LTM and your camera is M mount. So you need an adapter. If you wanna buy the lens new, CameraQuest is a good choice. Often used ones go in sale in the classifieds section of RFF. Join the RRF as well…lots of RF and Bessa enthusiasts there. LTM to M adapters are prolly cheaper on Evilbay. Enjoy your new camera dude!

    If you are going to shoot proper b&w film, you can prolly process it yourself and buy a half decent scanner. I bought all the dev gear but for 10 bucks can get the film processed and scanned at my local lab. Also my local lab has a hiring policy that is sexist to the extreme — only babes are hired. So doing that now. Just can’t be bothered with chemicals or scanners.

  4. I like that his pictures!

  5. Apparently there is a M mount version of that lens as well but costs a lot more.

  6. I’ve found it for cheap in Montreal, as I said up thread — cheaper than stores in the US which is strange.

    Shima I have no idea what your comment means; I still love you.

  7. Post some photos of the camera when you get the lens. Camera pr0n is nice! ;)

  8. My plan is to revamp the photoblog before I have a roll to post from the Bessa. If all goes well I should have the lens for it by Monday.

  9. Now this should interest you. Announced today!

  10. Damn it, that does look really nice, but I just bought the f/2.5. Of course, this lens doesn’t come out for a month and would probably be a few hundred dollars more. I really wanted something soon so I could start shooting photos. One day i’ll just buy a Leica Summicron and call it a day. Till then…

  11. Nah you made a good call on the 35mm skopar. This new nokton will be two or three times the price. Of course the 35mm Leica-killer lens is the Konica UC Hexanon. That will only set you back a grand. ; )

  12. Just stumbled across your blog from the photos on your flickr. Great pics by the way; the colors from the 35mm along with Superia 400 looks great.

    - Digital Nostalgia

  13. I find the film a bit hit or miss. You can’t beat the price though. I like using Kodak Ektar now, but it’s a bit too slow. It’s really nice outdoors though. Glad you like my pictures.

Don't be shy, you can comment too!

Some things to keep in mind: You can style comments using Textile. In particular, *text* will get turned into text and _text_ will get turned into text. You can post a link using the command "linktext":link, so something like "google":http://www.google.com will get turned in to google. I may erase off-topic comments, or edit poorly formatted comments; I do this very rarely.