Voigtlander Bessa-T vs R3M vs Leica CL and Leica Summicron 40mm f2 vs Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f2

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Ty Madey
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Voigtlander Bessa-T vs R3M vs Leica CL and Leica Summicron 40mm f2 vs Minolta Rokkor-M 40mm f2
10 months ago

Hi all,

I am new to this forum and I am also looking at getting into rangefinder photography. I come from a dslr background (I own a D600) and I really think using a full manual film rangefinder could be a lot more enjoyable for what I want out of my photography. I do a lot of research on everything (I am one of those persons who spends most of my free time watching youtube videos or reading articles about camera gear) so I usually have a pretty solid idea of what I want. However, I am struggling finding opinions on a big question I have for myself right now: what starting kit to get for rangefinder photography?

I have a small budget and want a camera and lens for under $1,000 which is another reason I am going film (I will also be getting the kit used from eBay).

For the camera choice, I have narrowed down 3 options: The Voigtlander Bessa R3M, the Voigtlander Bessa-T, and the Leica CL.

I want to use a 40mm lens and so my choice is between the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 Nokton vs the Leica Summicron f/2 vs the Minolta Rokkor-M version.

I have found a good amount of opinions on the lenses, so this isn't as big of a concern. If I can get a good price on the Leica I will get that because I like its character, but I do have one important question: How does the Minolta Rokkor compare to the Summicron?

On to the cameras, I will share with you my thoughts on each choice:

Bessa R3M: pros: Most modern option, center- weighted metering, great frameline choices, 1:1 viewfinder for accurate focusing. cons: most expensive of the three choices which will force me to buy the Nokton which is my second choice lens.

Bessa-T: pros: Cheapest option (so I could likely get the 'Cron), large rangefinder base length for accurate focusing. cons: external viewfinder (this is mostly a con because of cost factor - buying multiple viewfinders could make this more expensive than another option in the end, but I am not opposed to this style of shooting).

Leica CL: pros: easy to find these with the Leica Summicron for a good deal, Leica brand name (: cons: very small rangefinder base length which makes me a little worried, and I have read a lot about the meters becoming faulty (I am not comfortable about external metering).

So what I am basically struggling with is wanting to jump on a good CL + Summicron deal, but the CL's shortcomings are pretty alarming. So the other option is potentially saving money with the Bessa-T otherwise just accepting Voigtlander and getting an R3M with a 1.4. I am also curious about the Mionlta version of the Summicron in comparison (seems pretty similar from what I can read, but I am mostly wondering about the mechanical quality differences if any).

Thanks, and sorry for the long post. I am very new to this but have done as much research to prepare myself and have decided to turn to your help!

-Ty

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