I learned a long time ago that my internal balance is off slightly. Most of my images tilt a few degrees to the right and have to be corrected in post processing. The Bessa 66 taught me that I also cannot estimate distance well.
The zone focus system means you either have to measure or guess, then set the appropriate distance on the camera. I didn't guess very well. In wide aperture, low depth of field situations, my images are out of focus.
Shooting the folder is still fun. It's a sure way to attract attention in public. There is no mistaking it for a modern digital. The controls are a bit clumsy, with three levers and a focus ring arranged on the lens. Winding the film is a fully manual experience with no mechanical stops, making it easy to overwind. In spite of the sport finder, I don't think I could ever shoot this camera rapidly.
The shutter fires with a satisfying click, accompanied by a bit of clockwork whirring at the slower speeds.
Introduced in 1938, the Bessa 66 is a nice little German folder. It takes 12 6x6cm exposures on 120 roll film. Mine is the deluxe version with an additional sport finder. A button on the bottom releases the bed, and the shutter release folds out from the side when the lens is extended. Mine features a Vaskar 75mm f4.5 lens. Focus is manual with no rangefinder, with distance called out in feet on the focus ring. There are cheat symbols at around 11 feet for photographing people and 30 feet for larger scenes. Shutter speed is set by rotating a ring behind the focus ring, and aperture is a small lever on the side. Another small lever manually cocks the shutter, and there is no double exposure prevention. Film is advanced by winding a simple knob, with a shutter to cover the red window and prevent fogging the film. A rotating lever on the bottom of the case serves both to lock the film door and when rotated provides a convenient table top stand.
When folded, the Bessa 66 is about the size of a paperback book. It can be carried in a shirt pocket, although its 530g weight means you need a sturdy shirt.
Mine came via eBay with a nice metal takeup spool installed. I've replaced it with a modern plastic one so I don't lose it at the photo lab. I'll save it for developing my own black & white. I've loaded a roll of Ektar for the coming week.