Advice on a folding rangefinder that has a nice viewfinder?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by ColdEye, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    I am contemplating on what rangefinder to get, as of now I am targeting a Canon P or Canon 7. But what about those folding rangefinders? They look intriguing and they look compact (weight does not bother me much). The biggest requirement I have is having a nice viewfinder. I want something along the lines of a VF of a Canonet (just for reference). Is there a Folding camera that has the same VF size as that? I had a go at a Fed 2 once and the VF is too small for my taste. It must have a coupled RF/VF also, lens speed does not matter that much, I can make do with a f2 or f2.8. Thanks!
     
  2. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Ive got a Kodak Retina IIIc, its a nice compact and classy folding range finder that wont break the bank, with a good set of lenses. Though I think my shutter winding lever is stripped of its teeth, a common problem that makes it unable to wind. needs to be fixed.

    I also have a Zeiss Super Ikonta IV that has a 75mm tessar f3.5 lens. A very well made folder for medium format. but sadly this also needs a CLA, as the focus is really stiff now and theres a bit of fungus in the lens.

    There are tons of classic range finders out there, but be sure to check them out, as they can come with many problems, or develop them only after a brief time using them. CLAs are recommended to get the best use of any classic camera, and may make what seems like a dim range finder be very bright.

    good luck on your hunt.
     
  3. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    Is the viewfinder of the retina small? I am looking it up now and they do look nice. If ever I think I will go for the II as they are the ones without a meter(?).
     
  4. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    It is a little on the small side, but its a nice diamond shaped patch. I am trying to think how big the canonet is, but I dont remember it being to big either (canonet 28).
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The Retina IIIc's viewfinder is definitely smaller than a Canonet GIII.
     
  6. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    If you want a big clear viewfinder, there is nothing better than Mamiya 6. That is the only one that folds... besides GF670. That makes you think 35mm cameras like watching pirated copy of p0rn on VHS from 1980s.
     
  7. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    In medium format, the Iskra finder is large as well.
     
  8. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    The Rentia IIIC big has a very useful rangfinder with lines for the 35 and 80 lens. Very compact. I carry mine when I am lugging around 4X5. It is somewhat odd in many ways, film advance in the bottom, need to set the film counter, the shutter and F stop are linked and diffuct to overide. The 50 mm is very good, the 35 and 80 are large and need to be carried a bubble case and dont link to the rangfinder, I dont bother to carry. My meter is still active after 50 or so years. I got mine in 1966, I think it was used as a gift from my aunts.
     
  9. antmar

    antmar Subscriber

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    The best viewfinders that I ever saw in folding cameras are these of Retina IIIC and Iskra. I can see both very well although I am wearing spectacles.
     
  10. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    Yeah, note there's a "c" and a "C" series of Retinas. The big C models have a clear bright-line range/viewfinder system.
     
  11. BobD

    BobD Member

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    I agree that the IIIC (big C) has an excellent viewfinder. I don't use the accessory lenses with mine as they are inconvenient but with the standard 50/2 the VF is easy to see even while wearing glasses.
     
  12. Jojje

    Jojje Member

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  13. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    Thanks for the replies. At first I was just considering a 35mm, but now the Iskra really got my attention. I think I will go with that for now. Can any Iskra users here post some sample pictures that they took with it? Thank you. :D
     
  14. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    The Iskra is solid, but just be warned, if the winder/film counter goes, so goes the whole camera pretty much. Also, changing shutter speeds is a pain in the ass. It is also heavier that the Isolette, but feels solid in the hand (which I like). The lens is excellent.

    Kinda a lower res of a scan from a shot with the Iskra on E100VS

    Iskra.jpg
     
  15. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    And actually, my Avatar shot was from an Iskra.
     
  16. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    If looking at the Iskra, the Super Ikontas would be a step up. But from the completed listings on ebay the Zeiss option isnt that more. they seem to range from about the same price, to more than double the price of the Iskras so there is a possibility to score on cheap.

    Honestly if you look at their pictures, it seems the Iskra is a clone. Though I cant say for sure as I dont know their history.
     
  17. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Clone, kinda, but after owning both cameras, I can say that the build and finish on the Zeiss is typical German and the build on the Iskra is typical cold-war Russian. Funny though, I preferred the glass on the Iskra.

    The shutter ring and rangefinder focus ring on the Iskra are items to bemoan. The Zeiss is a clear winner there.
     
  18. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Konica II has a nice viewfinder. It has a collapsible lens. The Konica III's viewfinder is even better, although the camera doesn't collapse, and it's heavy.
     
  19. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    Thank you for all the replies and all the info that was given. I happend across a very nice deal on a Canon 7 so i am going with that. :D