Bessa RF

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The Bessa Rangefinder or Bessa RF (also known as the Bessa E Messer, from Entfernungsmesser, the German for 'rangefinder') was introduced in 1936, one of a long-running series of Bessa cameras made by Voigtländer. It is a 6x9 folder using 120 roll film, with a mask for 6x4.5 pictures. It was available with three different lenses, the most expensive variant carrying the Heliar lens, all with a hinged filter. The magnified split image rangefinder is a separate window from the viewfinder, but it is coupled to the lens. Focussing is by turning the knob on the top plate which also provides a depth of field scale. The Bessa RF has a mask inside the viewfinder for the 6x4.5 format, put in place by turning the small knob on the top plate above the viewfinder, and two red windows on the camera back. There was also a post-war Bessa Rangefinder, the Bessa II.


  • Type 120 6x9 folding camera.
  • Size 160 mm x 96 mm x 44 mm (closed), 160 mm x 90 mm x 134 mm (open, W x H x D).
  • Image Format 60 x 90 mm, 60 x 45 mm with mask (H x W).
  • Lens Available with 105mm Helomar f1:3.5/Skopar f1:3.5/Heliar f1:3.6.
  • Diaphragm F/3.5 continuously adjustable to f/22.
  • Shutter Compur-Rapid.
  • Focusing Coincident coupled rangefinder, unit focusing 1m - infinity.
  • Shutter Speeds 1/400th second, 1/200, 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, 1/10, 1/5, 1/2, 1s B & T.
  • Viewfinder Direct finder with mask for 6x4.5 format.
  • Film Loading Manual, with flip out spool holder.
  • Film Transport Manual wind knob.
  • Flash Contact PC socket.
  • Tripod Socket 3/8 in. on bottom plate and on camera door.


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