Leica M2 vs. Voigtlander Bessa R3A

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Leica M2 vs. Voigtlander Bessa R3A


Camera Porn!


I own both a 1950s Leica M2 35mm rangefinder film camera and a more modern Voigtlander Bessa 3RA 35mm rangefinder film camera.  Both accept Leica M lenses and are basically a light box to mount the lens on and to shoot to 135 film.  So which do I prefer?  Here are some facts of each:


Leica M2 spec

  • 0.72 magnification viewfinder for 35mm, 50mm, 90mm framelines (Leica M3 is 0.91 magnification for 50mm framelines and better rangefinder focus accuracy).
  • 1/50 flash sync speed – uses 2 rear flash sync ports and can use with PC sync cable via adapter
  • Fastest shutter speed 1/1000 (for when wanting to use wide apertures in daylight)
  • Horizontal cloth shutter (quiet)
  • Leica build quality – compact but solid with nice slimline ergonomics
  • Leica prices despite the age
  • Film loaded from the bottom
  • No light meter (I use a separate Sekonic light meter or do a test shot with the M9)


Voigtlander Bessa R3A spec


  • Large bright 1:1 magnification viewfinder with 40, 50, 75, 90 framelines
  • 1/125 flash sync speed with useable hotshoe without need for adapters
  • Fastest shutter speed 1/2000 (for when wanting to use wide apertures in daylight)
  • Vertical metal shutter prone to jamming
  • Cheaper lightweight build but lighter to carry. Nice slimline ergonomics.
  • More affordable (approximately half price)
  • Film loaded from the back door
  • TTL Centerweighted light metering


Leica M2 vs. Voigtlander Bessa R3AWhich do I prefer?

For ambient light photography the Leica M2 is reliable and rugged and hard to beat.  I use it with a 1.4x magnifier on the viewfinder with my Leica Noctilux lens. For flash photography the Voigtlander Bessa R3A makes Leica M film camera strobist work possible and far easier than using the M2.  The large Bessa viewfinder is beautiful to use but the reliability of the metal shutter is a problem.



Both have their place in my camera bag. 🙂





Author: matthewosbornephotography

Coventry, UK studio based Model and Wedding Photographer offering both Medium Format Film and Digital Images. 1-2-1 Photography and Lighting Tuition also available.

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