Tag Archives: medium format
Bessa III Review Part 1
Several years ago my wife and I travelled to Prague and picked up an old fold up camera. We brought it as a kind of joke and took a few rolls of film with it. Little did we know that when we developed and printed out the photos they were absolutely stunning giving much greater detail on an 8 x 10 print then 35 mm film. Although in working condition the camera had its quirks and was very cumbersome to operate. So I picked up a second-hand Hasselblad 500 CM which was easier to operate but challenging nonetheless due to the upside down viewfinder (I haven’t given up yet). At the time the Bessa III which combines medium format negative + rangefinder composition + compact folding body seemed like the ideal solution.
The Bessa III takes 120 roll film which can be set either to 6 x 7 or 6 x 6 frame ratio. The adjustment can be made simply by turning the clearly marked dial on the right. On my sample this dial is a bit loose and I find myself compulsively checking to make sure it is firmly set before closing the back. The two arrows across the top simply indicate where you should place the starting strip indicator on the 120 film leader. Just line the arrow up with the either the 6 x 7 or 6 x 6 indicator on the leader and you are good to go.
I prefer the 6 x 7 ratio on the Bessa III as it gives a wider field of view. This is good for street shooting because you never know what interesting things can be found on the periphery. To get some composition inspiration you can search for 6 x 7 either on google or flickr to see some good samples.
Other things of note
The two red buttons on the back do nothing more than pop the film reels off the camera. There’s a circular screw-on viewfinder protector that needs to be fastened carefully. If you manage to lose it like I did, you can pick up a Nikon branded replacement quite easily.