Home News Besser a Bessa: Looking for a Voigtländer Bessa R4A or R4M

Besser a Bessa: Looking for a Voigtländer Bessa R4A or R4M

Getting down to the research: Jörg-Peter gets to grips with the Zeiss Ikon.

Macfilos author Jörg-Peter Rau in Germany is researching an article on “not-quite-Leicas”. One of the subjects is the Voigländer Bessa R4A or R4M and Jörg-Peter would be prepared to buy one at an acceptable price.

Getting down to the research: Jörg-Peter gets to grips with the Zeiss Ikon.
Getting down to the research: Jörg-Peter gets to grips with the Zeiss Ikon.

Do you own one of these cameras and, perhaps, feel like parting with it? Alternatively, the loan of a camera for a couple of months would be acceptable, although it would mean sending it to Germany. However, the two-way shipping costs will be reimbursed.

If you can help, please leave a comment and I will pass on the details to Jörg-Peter so that he can make direct contact with you.

Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the Bessa R4:

Bessa R4M and R4A (wide-angle rangefinder)

Announced in October 2006 at Photokina, the Bessa R4M and Bessa R4A were the first Leica M-mount cameras to include framelines wider than 28 mm. The R4-series keeps the same features as the R3-series but utilizes a wide-angle-specific viewfinder with .52x magnification and framelines for 21, 25, 28, 35, and 50 mm lenses. Like the previous limited edition R-series cameras, the R4A features aperture-priority autoexposure, while the R4M features full manual operation, including a mechanical shutter that will continue to work even if the battery (which powers the meter) is dead. The R4M is available in the classic black of the R2 and R3-series, while the R4A is available in matte black.

Read more from Jörg-Peter Rau on Macfilos


  1. While I cannot help with the cameras requested, the topic triggered a teenage memory of a roll-film Bessa I bought in the late 1940s. It produced twelve square pictures on 120 roll-film. It was fitted with an uncoated four element Voigtlander Skopar lens and produced excellent pictures when the lens erecting system settled in the correct position. In the 1950s, more modern Bessa roll-film cameras were made fitted with either Vaskar triplet lenses or Color-Skopar after lens coating was introduced in manufacture.

    I believe the 35mm Bessa cameras shown above were made under Cosina ownership, during the period when many German camera manufacturers could no longer compete with Japanese products. At least I might have recalled the longevity of the Bessa name.

  2. I bought a Bessa 4A following a discussion with Tom Abrahamson at an LHSA meeting. He had suggested it to Mr Kubiyashi on one of his frequent trips to Cosina in Japan and by the next trip, over dinner, Mr K produced the camera and asked if this was what Tom had in mind. Oh if only Leica could work like that.
    I was sick of putting the 21 mm finder on the M6 with the risk of loss or breakage.
    I still use the R4A with either a 35mm Summicron (pre asph) and a Zeiss 21 mm f=2.8 Biogon and a Voigtlander 90mm f=3.5 Apo Lanthar and 90 mm finder. All this is in a small bag ready to be taken out at anytime. Tri X is always loaded and XTol always ready. William the darkroom is a place of refuge and a joy.

    • Definitely a place of refuge, Philip, but the Boss would never agree to one in the house. So I will have to await the lifting of lockdown and make my way across town to where there is a Darkroom that I can use. I have a roll of Fomapan and a roll of 100 Tmax both shot on my M6 which are awaiting that journey. As for the cameras shown above, I nearly bought a Zeiss Ikon from a dealer in Hong Kong one time, but I ended up buying a 25mm f2.8 Zeiss lens in a Nikon F mount instead. I have since bought what is effectively the same lens in a Leica M mount. Both lenses are superb.


  3. Hello Guy and all others,

    thank you very much for any offer. Unfortunately, I have to postpone my „not-quite-Leica“ project due to lack of time. Buying an R4, as interesting a camera as it it, make no sense for me now or in the near future. Mike, if possible, please feel free to close the comments to this article.

    Best wishes, thanks again and please do continue to support Macfilos. I will offer new contributions as soon as I manage to write something appropriate.


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