Bessa R2 or Canon?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by mikeivnitsky, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. Hi, All!

    I have saved more or less enough money for a bessa R2 or a well used canon RF
    (canon 7?).
    I intend to use 50/1.8 canon on it(and probably that's it). I need a rugged and
    reliable camera over a meter(meter is a plus). A good viewfinder\rangefinder is
    a must.

    What do you think?

  2. Any camera I choose would be used - a lightly used bessa r2 or a heavily(due to age) used canon.
  3. I think you should check on shutter curtain replacement availability on Canon RF models and other parts.

    If parts are available, the Canon would be my choice. Note that you will be limited to screw mount lenses. Later Besa models use the Leica mount.

    Keep in mind old cameras are like old cars and they need repairs so initial investment for a Besa will be less. The quality is far less to in my opinion.
  4. If you are not going to use another lens then just get a rf from the 70's for cheap. The oly rc,
    rd, canonet, yashica gsn, minolta 7 all have great optic and are made to last plus you get leaf
    shutters...all virtually silent.
  5. I had a couple of 70ies rf(the latest canonet 17,yashica lynx 14) and while they had excellent lenses their vf\rf was crap. I wan't something better in that sense.
  6. Have them clean, it makes a world of difference. Now between the two you mentioned, I
    would go for a bessa r as their finder is very bright and it has a meter though I must say that
    the canons look much cooler.
  7. I wouldn't say the Bessa R2 is the most rugged camera in the world but as long as you're not going to be using it to drive in nails it should be ok.
  8. I cleaned the rf\vf on both - it helped but not a whole lot - they flare like hell - and the rf contrast is to low
  9. Well, the bessa r vf contrast is higher than most old canons I have seen.
  10. I use both, and have used the Canon Model 7 for decades. The Canon Model 7 has much better build quality than the Bessa. The Bessa has a brighter rangefinder/viewfinder, but the Model 7 has a higher magnification viewfinder (.8 vs .68), and a longer effective base length (47.2 vs 25.2mm). If you are only going to be using a 50mm, physical condition is equal, and the TTL meter doesn't matter, I would go with the Canon Model 7, it's no contest.
  11. I seem to be leaning towards the bessa but the occasional horror story(shutter dying new from the box etc) kind of scare me nad the internet is full of them - I wonder how long will service be available for them.
    On the other hand, the vf\rf seem to be better and TTL is convenient(10-20% more good shots for me).

    I understand canons keep their value better, but you need to factor in CLA(which costs third to half the cost of the camera),and they are old.
  12. The big difference between a Canon and the R2 is the noise level. An R2 is as noisy as most SLRs, where say a Canon P is much quieter.

    Depending on the density of the lens, the Canon P is almost as quiet as an older Leica M. If you shoot street candids and quiet and sneaky is your M.O., an R2 sounds like a gun shot compared to a Leica.
  13. I wouldn't be concerned about problems out of the box with a new camera. That's what warrantees are for. The problem will either be fixed for free or you will get a replacement. As you mentioned a used camera can also have problems & that means money out of pocket.

    You should also be aware that even the best mechanical rangefinder camera can need occasional service. You can learn to fix a misaligned rangefinder yourself, which will save money on one reason for service.

    It's hard to know how long service will be available on any film cameras - whether it's a new one or an old one from the 1950s.
  14. That's true. I think it will be easier to service a leica\rollei\nikon f tyhen a canon elan 7 in the near future.
  15. "the vf\rf seem to be better"

    What are your criteria for determining what constitutes a better viewfinder? Brightness or focusing accuracy?
  16. I presume focusing accuracy is good enough for up to 50/1.5 lenses so it's good enough in both cases - I mean brightness,and the quality of the rf patch(contrast,flaring etc.)
  17. The Bessa's rangefinder will focus 50mm f1.0, so if you are not going to use anything longer than a 50, the Bessa's got the cleaner and brighter finder. Your issue is then down to build quality.
  18. I have no doubt canons are built better. The question is is Bessa R2 built good enough? What can I compare it to?
    Nikon F3? Nikon fm2n? Nikon FG? Pentax k1000? Canon AE1? Canone Eos Rebel?
  19. Bessas are built "good enough" if you baby them. I like my Bessa R2's, and I have two of them. I HAD 3 until I snapped the rewind crank off one of them because the "latch" type rewind is a bit flimsy if you are not careful with it. That particular body sits on the shelf now, and unless I get around to repairing it, will likely end up canibalized for parts for the other two. For instance, I had a tight mount on one, so I took a screwdriver to the pair of mounting flanges and swapped them out, and now I have the smooth mount on the clean one I use. Keep some Crazy Glue handy. The rubberized back on my olive R2 started to peel off. A dab of Crazy Glue and I haven't had a problem since. Knock on wood, I have never had a shutter problem and I've had them for over two years now. If you can put up with that, the ergonomics of the R2 are sweet. It's the camera Leica should have made and didn't. Also, I happen to think Bessa's are amazingly fondle-able. They are just wonderfully designed to be user friendly. Just don't let little Johnny sit on them.

    If you want to compare it to an SLR, Cosina made the Nikon FM10. It might even be the same chassis. I also think Cosina made a bunch of other SLRs like a Vivitar/Cosina in Pentax mount.

    It's really interesting to watch the evolution of the Bessa from the Bessa L, to the Bessa T, to the screw-mount R, then the R2 and then the R2A and R2M. They are getting better all the time, but all look like they are built on the same chassis. I have the black paint, metal 101 Anniversary Bessa T and that's built better than the other Bessas, though nowhere near Leica quality. I fondled a Bessa R2M with 50mm Collapsible Heliar on the weekend and was reasonably impressed with its build.
  20. I own a Bessa R and a Canon P. The Bessa R doesn't even come close to the Canon's build quality. As mentioned above, the Cosina built Bessa R is built just good enough, which is a tad below the Pentax K1000.

    With that said, the Bessa R sees more use than my Canon P, mainly because its RF patch is much brighter. The modern light meter is surprisingly good and another reason to get the Bessa. By the way, I sold my Canon 7 when I bought the Bessa R a couple of years back and I can't say that I miss it.
  21. I find my Canon P much easier to focus than my Bessa, as was my old Canon 7. I find my Olympus RC easier still. Tell the truth, to me these cameras are easier to focus than Leica M's other than M3. Your eye may differ. Try before you buy.
  22. The Bessa is sold to somebody faster then me.
    I have two options a canon 7 and a canon VI-L - what do you say?
  23. I have two options a canon 7 and a canon VI-L - what do you say?
    If you're certain that the VI-L is in excellent condition, then the latter.
    I wouldn't get either. The 7 is big and somehow seems awkward. (But this is just me; others love it.) And I hope that you remember it has no accessory shoe. The VI-L is a beautiful device but I've heard that its finder is prone to problems that must be fixed with parts that no longer exist.
    I'd get a Bessa of some kind (remembering the warnings you've already received) or a Canon P, L1, L2, L3, VL, or VL2.

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