35mm Rangefinder suggestions

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Silverpixels5, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    I seem to be getting tired of hauling around a bulky SLR, and am now in the market for an decent rangefinder. I just need something reliable with a decent lens to take everyday photos when i'm out and about. I'd rather it have a coupled rangefinder, but will consider models with scale focusing. A meter with aperature priority is also desired, but not a must. Thank you for any suggestions you can provide!
     
  2. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    It sounds like you might like a Konica Auto S2. The lens is good, much better than the popular Canonet, and it meters in both manual and aperture-priority mode. It's not that much smaller than an SLR, tho.
     
  3. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Keep this in mind--

    when I compared my Canonet to an OM-1, the difference in size was not very significant.

    That said, I love the Canonet.

    Matt
     
  4. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    If you haven't used a rangefinder before, be aware the "style" of shooting is quite different than with an SLR. Some folks don't make the switch easily.

    That said, there is obviously a wide range of options. Among the models currently being produced, I'd suggest looking at the Bessa-R models that use Leica-M mount lenses. The Voigtlander lenses, while not as fast as the equivalent Leica models, are quite good, and far more affordable.
     
  5. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    If the angle of view of a 35mm lens suits what you wish to do and it is within your budget The Konica Hexar has received much enthusiastic response from its users. Although not as advanaced in its auto focus as the G2 a Contax G1 with a 45mm Planar might delight you if you find one within your budget. You would have both manual and auto focus available along with motor drive. Some rangefinder fans do not like the view finder. I have only handled the camera a little bit and find that I really like the viewfinder and this is from a person that also admires Leica. A Voigtlander Bessa RF camera with a collasible 50mm lens, or 35mm lens could also be a very fine choice. It would easily fit into a jacket pocket.

    Frankly, I am very biased. I beileve that In the long run working with manual exposure with one film will become so second nature that your ability to set your expose with out taking a reading will prove to be more reliable than what is provided by an auto-exposure system.

    Recommendation:

    I would consider getting a Russian Rangefinder camera in Leica screw mount thread and a Russian lens. There are very knowledgeable photographers in this forum that give them high praise. Start another thread specifically asking about these cameras. I believe you will get much feedback as to makes, models and lenses.
     
  6. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I would suggest an Olympus XA (rangefinder w/ ae) or a Minox 35GT (scale-focussing only on the 35GT) or an Olympus Stylus Epic (pretty much auto everything). This is from personal experience shooting and owning all 3.

    Ron, if you're interested in trying out one of these tiny 35mm models let me know and you can borrow it while I'm in Japan for the cost of one of your prints :smile:

    edit: all of these cameras have sharp lenses and will fit into a jeans' pocket!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2005
  7. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Here's what I have finally decided upon.

    1> Olympus XA - so I never have an excuse to leave home without a camera - A-priority only, though.

    2>Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII - use it without a battery in full manual mode at night only when the lighting gets tricky for their meters and many of these rangefinders don't go above ISO 800 or so. But this camera has a nifty EV reading feature which makes shooting at 1600 or more a breeze. But pretty much any camera that does manual along with A and has a fastish lens would do this job - Canonet, konica S2 etc

    3>Olympus RC (or maybe RD for a few grams and dollars more) - for when you need full manual AND lightweight

    If I had to choose just one to replace the SLR, it would be the XA, though.

    -A
     
  8. micek

    micek Member

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    Small and well built, with an excellent, 40mm f1.7 bright lens and cheap: the Olympus RD. You can easily get one for 50-75USD.
     
  9. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    The xa is nice because it is so portable but it is almost TOO small. The finder is tiny and the focus lever has about a half inch of movement. I also notice a bit of vignetting on the xa. The corners are darker than the rest of the image. And I took a lot of accidental pictures. That electronic shutter button has a hair trigger. But it sure does fit nicely in your pocket.

    I actually liked the olympus rd or rc or ed or sp or whichever better. Seems to fit the hand better, but not the pocket.
     
  10. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Canonet. They sold over a MILLION of those little things, they're close to disposable and they are GREAT little cameras! You can often buy two for the cost of a leica lens cap (or one for the cost of a single contax lens cap)
     
  11. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Olympus 35 RC is a very nice little camera. I just sold one last month. The little Konica C35 and C35 Automatic also might be contenders.

    Keep in mind that almost any Japanese camera made since the 1970s will need to have new foam seals. Not a big job, but in general you shouldn't expect the camera to be in A1 condition out of the box.
     
  12. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    RL: You didn't specify whether you are thinking of a fixed lens or interchangeable lens system. And size/weight may be considerations.

    I second Mike's recommendation to the RC and C35; I have one of each, and they're both very capable. I also have the Olympus XA and Olympus 35SP. Some comparison shots are in my gallery on RFF at http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=5295
    (I didn't include the XA in the series.) I also have some recent SP shots at http://www.flickr.com/photos/97373293@N00/sets/1406642/

    If you have sufficient budget and want to go with interchangeable lenses, then a Leica or the new Zeiss Ikon are top choices. Mike has a great site where he is posting his experience with the new ZI, at http://www.elekm.net/zeiss_ikon/

    Cheers,

    Earl
     
  13. markbb

    markbb Member

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    get yourself a Yashica electro 35. They are cheap as chips with an excellent 45mm f1.7 lens
     
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  15. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Hmmm... really? How so? Which Canonet? I love these off-hand statements of superiority - obviously, Coke is better than Pepsi, but other than that...

    The only real short-coming of a Canonet QL17 is the meter/battery issue and the shutter prority only automation. I have yet to see any grounds to question the quality of the lens, especially by a margin of "much better".

    I also have a 19, and frankly, not much to complain about the optics in that one either. And I have looked at the pics side-by-side with others produced by some top-notch lenses in a similar focal lengths (40- 50mm).

    Well, I am off to scratch my head in confusion :smile:
     
  16. Bruce Appel

    Bruce Appel Member

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    Get one that works. On older stuff I would venture to say that condition is probably more important than brand, within reason. Minolta, Cannon, Konica, and others all made some great stuff, but they are long in the tooth.
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've never used rangefinders much, so disregard my comments if you like :smile:

    I have an old FED-2 which has a very precise rangefinder. Since they can be picked up for a very low price - and in any finish you'd like and a few I wouldn't - they are worth it just to play with. There are three drawbacks: 1) Weight. Think T-34... 2) No lightmeter, but "sunny 16" works fine. 3) Some long Leitz lenses can only be dismounted with the aid of a finger from the inside, as I discovered when I tried a Hektor 135mm on mine.

    So I have another one, with the opposite drawbacks: Bessa-L. No rangefinder, but very small and light. Specially made for very wide lenses, where DoF is great enough to make a rangefinder somewhat redundant. Has a (good) lightmeter, but also works very well without batteries (important to me, to use on oil rigs without all the paperwork pertaining to non-Ex equipment).

    Scale focusing and guess exposures is a matter of practice, and after a while you won't even miss what you don't have.

    I learned photography with a Welta Welti, a folding 35mm camera which is even more compact. No lightmeter, small viewfinder, no rangefinder, but a very nice Tessar 5cm f:2.8 capable of top performance.
     
  18. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    I have a Konica Hexar Silver and absolutely love it, but I'm not sure it's the right camera for you. It's virtues are a brilliant lens (but non-interchangable and 35mm), autofocus (with a manual mode that leaves much to be desired), an advanced shutter-priority system that I wish more cameras would employ, and a "stealth mode" for sneaky picture taking.

    It's not really a point-n-shoot, more of a hybrid between a rangefinder and a PnS.

    But it's a bit heavy and doesn't fit in the pocket well.

    The camera goes for between 200$ US, and 400$ US, usually.

    It's the best street camera I've found, but not sure I'd want it for my primary light-box.
     
  19. Terrance Hounsell

    Terrance Hounsell Member

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    I have used dozens of range finders from Rollei35/Knoica Hexar/Retina/Canotte/VitessaN/BessaL/LeicaM6 etc... all the way up to folding 120 such as SuperIkontas/Bessa/Voightlander. I currently own a Fufi GA645Zi as well.

    But my all time favorite range finder is the Contax TVS III - Why ?

    - Fits in my pocket and is there when I need it
    - Zoom lens, not a long range but a zoom nevertheless
    - Very sharp lens,
    - Several Exposure Modes
    - Fits in my pocket
    - several flash modes for built in flash
    - nice shutter release
    - closes up upon itself so you can easily put it in your pocket
    - easy to handle
    - solid construction
    - fantastic lens coatings
    - big exposure compensation dial
    - fast accurate auto focus
    - tripod socket
    - did I mention fit in my pocket ?

    I could go on but you get the message. I carry this camera every day when I go out for a walk at lunch and other wise it sits in my brief case ready to go. I even carry it when I'm doing large format so I can fool around a bit.

    BEST rangefinder out there... NO SUCH BEAST

    BUT it just may be the best all around range finder out there, and it fits in your pocket!

    Seriously of all the cameras that I have owned and used (many hundreds) it is the one most likely to be at hand, and that says a lot. No good having a better camera at home in the closet.

    Cheers, Terrance
     
  20. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I have a Yashica Electro G and it is nice, but I have never warmed up to it. For one thing, it is bigger and heavier than an Olympus OM1 or a Pentax MX. For another, it is Aperture Priority only and doesn't even tell you what shutter speed you are using. Also, there are battery issues that will cost a few dollars more to solve. That said, the optics are very good and they are super cheap. I think I got mine for about $10 plus shipping.

    I am actually replacing mine with a Pentax MX, for the reasons outlined above. I am likely to keep it just for fun since it is so cheap, however. If you like using an SLR, I recommend looking at an Olympus OM1 or 2 or a Pentax MX. With a 50mm or 35mm lens, either one is extremely small and light and works very well. You will then still have the option of multiple lenses and the like when you want to carry them.
     
  21. B-3

    B-3 Member

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    Never heard that expression before - love it!
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    "Hmmm... really? How so? Which Canonet? I love these off-hand statements of superiority - obviously, Coke is better than Pepsi, but other than that..."

    I tried the Canonet (GIII QL 1.7) and I wasn't too happy with it. I can't quite figure out why this seems to have become a cult camera. The images were light in contrast. Recently I started using a Kodak Retina IIIc and have been much happier with it. It is smoother in operation and the quality of the negs is much more superior that those coming out of the Canonet... crisper and more contrast Unfortunately, the Retina is heavier. Oh well.

    And... Coke really IS better than pepsi ;-)
     
  23. Trivette

    Trivette Member

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  24. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I am not one to really go for the cult status, etc. I just happen to have one, and use it often, and find the lens lens compares very favorably with many top-notch SLR lenses, even side by side. Perhaps your example was lacking in some way? Coating damage? Rangefinder out of alignement? I don't know, the negs out of mine can be easily put up against anything else I've used...

    And yes, Coke IS better than Pepsi - no joke there!:wink:
     
  25. celluloidpropaganda

    celluloidpropaganda Subscriber

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    There's a big variation in Canonet quality, from what I've heard. Some are sharper and contrastier than others.

    I love my new-to-me Canonet. It arrived on Monday from a member of the rangefinderforum - he cleaned up the viewfinder, changed the front element on the lens and sent an extra correct battery. Shutter-priority isn't so bad, as you can see the aperture being used in the viewfinder. And if all else fails, it's a fully-manual camera.

    I've also got a Yashica Lynx 14 (big arse 45/1.4) that needs a CLA, but I picked it up cheap. I'm not as fond of the ergonomics, though a $25 f/1.4 rangefinder is hard to beat.
     
  26. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    heh, I wish _more_ cameras had shutter-priority.