Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/05/12

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Subject: [Leica] Sorta OT: Was Going to Buy a CL Until I saw the Bessa R2
From: "Greg J. Lorenzo" <>
Date: Sun, 12 May 2002 16:26:16 -0600

I had been keeping my eye open on the internet and elsewhere for Leica 
CL in good condition for my two girls who at ages 12 and 14 are starting 
to show more interest in photography as a hobby.

Then one recent Saturday evening I met Tom and Tuulikki Abrahamson and 
Joe Leung for a nice italian meal and discussion of all things Leica and 
our plans for the next day's Vancouver camera show. Joe and I brought 
our Leica's, Tom and Tuulikki brought their recently acquired brand 
spanking new Bessa R2's. Tom's is black with the new Cosina 50mm 2.5 
lens, Tuulikki's olive green. Tom and Tuulikki generously allowed Joe 
and I to closely examine their Bessa's and both Tom and Tuulikki 
expressed their satisfaction with their camera's fit, finish and ergonomics.

Suffice to say I looked at the Leica offerings the next day, but had 
resolved in my mind to email Stephen Gandy at Camera Quest (whom I never 
dealt with before) and order a black R2 as soon as I got home. The deed 
done, R2 number 429 arrived in the mail last Wednesday and has been 
pretty much in constant use ever since.

Very briefly, here are my initial impressions:

The R2 in general is very solidly made, fit, finish and ergonomics are 
to a high order and the camera fits comfortably, both in my large hands 
which are familiar with the R8 and M5, and the girls much smaller, 
dainty hands. Most importantly to me, the R2 takes (most) Leica M glass 
with no adapter required!

The viewfinder is almost as bright as the M6 but is somewhat prone to 
flare in brightly back-lit situations. The meter is quite accurate and 
compares well with my M6. The meter indicator is setup like the M6 with 
the open/close arrows and centre dot. The indicator lights work well 
indoors and outdoors except with brightly back lit subjects where it can 
be difficult to see clearly. The meter arrows require shutter and 
aperture adjustment opposite to my M6TTL LHSA and this (for me) requires 
just a bit more fore thought for quick shots. Frame lines are provided 
for 35, 50, 75 and 90mm lenses, but unlike the M, must be pre-selected 
using a lever located on the camera's top plate. Film loading is quick, 
simple and very much like the R7, which is basically; open the camera 
back, thread in the film leader, advance the film and go. The film 
loading feature is a much appreciated plus for someone new to 
photography, being much less daunting than the Leica M4 through M7 
process. Rewinding of the film is accomplished by pressing the release 
button on the camera's base plate and turning the rewind crank. The 
rewind crank however, is one of my two nits with the R2 as it is not be 
as well constructed as the rest of the camera. My other nit is being 
with the currently supplied User Manual which is all in Japanese! Of 
course there are illustrations within the manual which are quite helpful 
no matter the language.

Overall, Voigtlander has done a fine job with this camera and at 1/3rd 
to 1/4th the cost of a M6 or M7 I rate it a first rate bargain so far 
and a very worthy replacement to the Leica CL.



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