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Getting To Know You...Lots of Pics Added...

Discussion in 'Film Forum' started by stealthman_1, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. :biggrin: Voigtlander Bessa III, Voigtlander Bessa II with Color Skopar
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    First impressions...
    It's a smart looking camera and its slightly matte black finish looks very nice. It's the same finish as on the ZI and the Bessa 35mm Rangefinders. The aperture, focus length, and shutter speed numbers are stamped into their respective parts and filled with paint...nice.
    The Voigtlander and Bessa III logos and exposure compensation numbers are painted onto the top plate. Disappointing.

    Front standard is rock solid. Some have complained you have to remember to set the focus to infinity to close the camera or risk damage...mine you can't even begin to close it unless it is set to within a couple degrees of infinity. I don't get the complaint? I guess it would be nice to close at any focus, but the lens extends and retracts with near/far focus like a typical modern day lens vs. the whole standard sliding on rails. The former is more rigid, I'll live with the inconvenience.

    The camera handles well, even in my smallish hands, it is deceivingly large. It looks much smaller than a GW-690 Fisher Price 6x9 but it is not. 1/4 inch shorter, just shy of a half inch less in width and while it looks much thinner, bottom plate to bottom plate it's the same thickness as the GW. It's like an optical illusion. A Bessa II 6x9 is smaller in all dimensions (though in similar proportions to the III and GW comparison), except extended length, where it's about a quarter inch longer for the same focus distance.

    The viewfinder is nice and bright and the parallax correcting frame lines are really sweet. Indicators in the viewfinder are easy to find and clear using the Zeiss Ikon method of shutter speed indication. The viewfinder, however is not the Zeiss Ikon viewfinder which is a shame. Side by side it appears identical to the Bessa R3/R4 viewfinder, which is a nice viewfinder with lots of room around the framelines in 6x7, but it's not the ZI viewfinder, which is amazing (though the ZI rangefinder is not).

    Film loading is the easiest I've ever seen in a MF camera, but my next newest MF camera is 10+ years old. I'm not saying MF film loading is hard by any means, but you could load this camera with gloves on and not fumble. There are two little red buttons near the take up and supply spool that release a spring operated deally that moves the spool sprocket completely out of the way, you just touch the top of the spool with your finger and it pops out. I don't know your experience with such things, but that's way easier than a GW-690 or most any other non-magazine type MF camera I've used.

    Film Advance must have one hell of a gear ratio, because it's way easier than my Bessa II or any other folder I have (don't ask). The advance knob is wide enough you can run it down your arm in one continuous wind...Boy I wish a Leica M3 style rewind knob did that!

    Switching between 6x6 and 6x7 can be done with a thumbnail, switching the pressure plate from 120 to 220 is just a slide of the PP whereas in other Fuji cameras you flip the plate over. The camera has a window in the film reminder holder thingy on the back that automatically changes from 120 to 220 dependent on the PP position. That seems trivial, but with the GW-690, I've switched film lengths and then couldn't remember if I'd switched the pressure plate position and while you wouldn't see it at f16 you sure as heck would at f4.

    But how does it shoot?????:tongue: Well I haven't put it's maiden roll of Tri-X in the tank yet and with the wine I've had tonight I probably won't till tomorrow...:biggrin:
    I will tell you this. Focus is smooth, not Leica smooth, but very close. Aperture ring has a strange drag to it, I'm not terribly thrilled with it, but it has very close 1/2 stop clicks so maybe it's a compromise, it's only about 25 degrees worth of rotation from f3.5 to f22, very tight.

    The shutter. Don't believe what you read. People say it's 'quieter than my M7', 'hard to hear in any kind of background noise environment'. Folks, they are wrong. It's hard to hear in dead silence. I was shocked at how quiet it was. An M7 sounds like a jack hammer compared to this thing. I've shot 10 frames and literally, I think it is just louder than a pin dropping onto ceramic tile. I clicked every damn leaf shutter in the house and nothing was even remotely close to this quiet. It is almost disconcerting. It is nearly as quiet as a barrel lens...:biggrin::tongue::rolleyes:  1/4 sounded exactly like 1/250th. I'm not sure my shutter works, it doesn't sound like anything I've ever used and Fuji/Cosina/Ghost of Voigtlander/Whoever is all tricky and won't allow you to dry fire it so until I tank the Tri-X or shoot a roll staring at the shutter, I won't know if the shutter actually works or not!:rolleyes: 

    Tomorrow I'm going to take her and her older sister out and let them get to know each other. I have no idea still if this camera was worth the coin it cost, but we'll see. So far I do like it.:smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2009
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Schweet! I believe you are the first person I "know" to get that camera. Looking forward to seeing your pix!
  3. Yea, me too...
    I was supposed to go to the mountains last weekend, but fell sick Friday afternoon just as I got home...but I took my recovery time Sunday and Monday to get some stuff done, built two lensboards for the 8x10 for a 24 inch Goerz Artar and a very antique, 12 inch Goerz doppel Anistigmat (pre dagor) in its natural patina...I really want to shoot those too as well, but they may wait till next weekend. Taking Thursday and Friday off to do a good Eastern Sierra run.:biggrin: If I can make it out at a decent time Wednesday, I'll get down to the Alabama Hills and Whitney Portal.:smile: Not quite weather yet to get into Death Valley (don't want to kill my dog), but I am chomping at the bit for fall...
  4. mhcfires


    Aug 23, 2007
    El Cajon, CA
    Yeah, gotta be careful in Death Valley. There was an article in the paper this morning about a woman who went into the Valley with her 11 year old son and her dachshund in a Jeep Cherokee. She got lost (GPS and cell didn't work) and the kid died. She was badly dehydrated and so was the dog. Death Valley is a wonderful, beautiful place, especially in the winter.

    I am lusting for your camera, I have been looking at that thing since it was announced, but it is nowhere near my budget. I like your old Bessa, though. It is a beauty. Looking forward to the results from your trip to the Eastern Sierra.
  5. tboz


    Aug 4, 2009
    Well crafted. Please post some shots!
  6. Tim, congrats on the new Bessa III, I heard there was a very limited amount imported. The Bessa II looks great.
  7. There's a song here somewhere...LOL
  8. Oh it looks so black and sleek! Congrats!
  9. Man, I´m really looking forward to see some pictures, very nice cameras.
  10. Enough of this equipment fetish I say! :biggrin: Beauty is as beauty does! The proof is in the pudding! Show us some images!
  11. They're a comin', they're a comin'...I need a scanner assistant...preferably one with dark hair and long legs...:biggrin:
  12. Ok, so here we go...
    Of course he gets the initial frames...:smile:
    Kodak Tri-X, pushed 1 stop.
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    Around Old Folsom...
    Ektar 100 in hard mid-afternoon sun
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    Crop of about 10% of original frame
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    Obligatory Brick Wall...:tongue: Folsom Power House
    Kodak 400UC
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    Power House Swim Hole...:eek: 
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    The New(er) Power House
    Kodak Portra 800
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    Fuji Neopan 400 pushed 1 stop...
    Interesting what happens to B&W in blacklight...
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    Close Bokey
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    Far Bokey
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    Fuji Acros 100
    Sticks and Twigs...
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    Note...This roll didn't roll tight...my fault and what looks like flare, top center, is light leakage when I removed the roll from the camera...
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  13. Sweet! I give the camera and lens a thumbs up. Did you scan the Ektar shots yourself?
  14. The last shot says it all. Great depth and tone.
  15. I really like the Portra 800 and the Acros 100 shots, but they are all great, Tim!

    What a camera!
  16. mhcfires


    Aug 23, 2007
    El Cajon, CA
    Awesome series! Thanks for sharing. :smile:
  17. Hovmod


    Aug 11, 2008
    Yeah, some really cool shots there, Tim!
    Love the light in the windows on #7, for instance, although there is something odd going on with the focus in the bottom of that one.
    The log cabin is the winner for me.
  18. I noticed that too, I can't explain it at this point and it's the only frame like that, I'll be interested to see if it repeats itself. It is very similar to other folders I have used, the Bessa II included, and seems like a flatness issue. The light in the window was exactly what made me take that shot.:smile:

    Thanks! I did scan the Ektar, what I didn't do was post two photos over water with a funky cyan cast. Everything else on the Ektar roll looked really nice.

    It's funny, I've been in that little park a half dozen times and I've never 'seen' that view of that old tractor before...that's going to get redone with a view camera. Unfortunately, they have put up god-awful white placards on almost everything of interest there which really detracts from most of the pictures possibilities...you'd be cloning crap out forever for most shots. It is informative, but gosh it is ugly.:frown:

    Thanks a bunch...I've stuggled mightily with 800 speed film and the lighting that dictates it. This is probably the best 3 rolls (Portra, Tri-X, and Neopan pushed) of crappy light photography I've ever done. Nothing to do with the camera...maybe I'm finally getting it! What I liked about the camera, was I shot all the way down to 1/4...which all came out with shake, but the 1/8th and 1/15th all look good.

    Thanks Michael, I enjoyed shooting them!

    Funny thing...you know when you're waiting for a new Nikon product and the net is buzzing with people chomping at the bit with you? I felt like that waiting for this guy...but there wasn't one single thread on RFF or APUG with people anxiously awaiting. I felt so wonely...cue the Team America, Kim Jung Ill song...:biggrin:...anyway...so I load these pictures, really an afternoon of snapshooting, on flickr, post here and post on APUG that I had uploaded pictures to flickr...my viewcount yesterday was 4 1/2 times more than I'd ever gotten in any single day in two years and 15 times my daily average with 2/3s referred by flickr searches. There at least, is an interest in this camera, which is great news for film shooters and hopefully, manufacturers will see that FILM IS NOT DEAD!!!!!:biggrin: And neither are new film cameras!
  19. amazing pictures! i love the ones from the pub with bunch of shot glasses and the one with jukebox the colors are unbelievable
  20. I just noticed some of these are from a roll of Kodak 400UC. I like the colors, need to find
    this on the internet souk (ebay) since it is no longer manyoofackshured.
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