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|Those buildings were great the first time they were built... two thousand years ago.|
|Secret Roots of the Bessa-R?|
Puleeze... you really thought you would get away with thinking that the Cosina Bessa-R was some kind of radical design. "Incredible innovation." Right. It's not a big secret that the Bessa-R is derived from the standard Cosina SLR: Olympus OM-10, Nikon FM-10, etc. The interesting thing is that the Bessa probably did not even originate as a Cosina design.
I had a bunch of cameras out on the dining room table the other day (what else is new) and noticed that the 2000 Bessa-R looked a lot like the (da da da) 1979 Konica Autoreflex T4. Actually, it could just as well be the 1976 Autoreflex TC, from which the T4 was developed. Here are some points of comparison:
Overall size: although they don't look like they're the same size in the picture (thanks, o lousy digital camera), they are actually within a couple of millimeters in overall size.
Bottom plate: notice where the battery chamber sits. This is an arbitrary feature of camera design, and the Cosina battery cover could have been anywhere they wanted it. The rewind buttons are in the same place, too. Probably not relevant to development, since you can't really change the button location relative to the takeup spool. But...
Film chamber: aha! The sprocket wheel and takeup spool is exactly the same. The rewind prongs are exactly the same design, except the T4 is die-cast where the R is stamped. Film rails share a certain je ne sais quoi, but are not identical. Pressure plate is almost identical. Film reminder window on the Bessa is something they didn't use in 1979; ribs are to stiffen the Bessa's plastic back (Konica had a metal back).
Top deck: notice that the shutter speed dials are almost identical in construction. They do turn in opposite directions. The frame counter and exposure release are identically situated (note that the reset tab is in a similar location too in the light seal channel. Wind lever... interesting. The Konica has a ratcheted, articulated lever that kicks out to activate the meter. It is held on by a cap screw. The Bessa has no such ratcheting or switch. Its lever, which shares the same contour, has no cap screw — but has the contour of a cap screw molded into it. That's a really odd thing to have if you are designing from scratch.
Front: not much exciting here; self timers only go in one place. Strap lugs are identically positioned.