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voigtlander bessa II

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:36 pm
by pirateoversixty
don't see much on this forum about equipment as about cameras, so I thought I would try something in that area. I am certainly no tyro, but not an aficionado, either. as I noted in a thread on rodinal, I had purchased an older folder, a voightlander bessa II, in what looked like very good and lightly used condition; color skopar (alas, not a heliar or lanthar) clean and smoothly operating. I have been watching these on flea bay for a couple of years and was put off by the asking price: usually in the 400 + range for an alleged clean one. got mine at an "antique" store for less than the asking price of 75. no case and broken carrying strap, but oh, well. it sure is pretty! have only had a chance to put two rolls of film through it with inconclusive results. so, thought I would speak to the construction of this piece until I can use it more.
I have had a bessa before, with a pop-up viewfinder and uncoated skopar. very sharp lens. probably prewar. upon checking reviews of the bessa II, the two chief complaints seem to be somewhat flimsy construction and film flatness. compared to my franka 6x9, it doesn't. the franka, a consumer grade 6x9 with an SK radionar 4.5 105mm, probably sold by monky wards in the 50's, is solid as a rock; struts are very solid, and the bed is perfectly aligned. the lens, though a three element design, is acceptably sharp stopped down. also quite lite, since it does not have a rangefinder. front cell focus only. it does appear to have at least a single anti reflective coating.
the bessa lens shutter assembly does have a slight, very slight, movement when locked open. struts do not appear as solid, but no play from use. lens is tessar design with anti reflective coating. have not been able to determine if these were multicoated or not. rangefinder seems accurate, focus is smooth, film wind-on seems to be an odd design, but works smoothly also. left-eyedness will take some getting used to, but nothing like this is insurmountable, and will come.
all in all, I can't say which camera I favor so far. I have had the franka for a number of years and am quite familiar with it. I am hoping that the tessar lens will give me some superior exposures, and that the only failures will be from the fool behind the lens. would be glad to hear from users of either or both these cameras.

Re: voigtlander bessa II

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:41 pm
by pirateoversixty
due to the overwhelming response to this thread, I thought I had better give an update.
found the rangefinder is indeed off; tried to fix myself, but screw to adjust the horizontal is really locked down. certo6 said he couldn't get to it until March. he is going to move to a new house. anybody have any suggestions on where to send it?