Best mechanical 35mm analog Range Finder camera

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by baachitraka, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Hello there,

    After a long hunt for an analog 35mm full-mechanical SLR, I managed to settled down with Olympus OM-1n with a 35mm lens.

    Now, I am thinking to get one Range finder camera and I have no idea about it except Leica M3 and M6. Further, I do not want to spend too much money on it.

    Please recommend any camera that takes 80mm or above lenses.
     
  2. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    Not for nothing, but rangefinders don't really go all that well with telephoto lenses. (90mm is a practical limitation on a Leica, although they can often take 135mm lenses)

    The best film rangefinder is (possibly) the MP. I'm not sure, since I am sure it is overpriced. You already know the best ones for less money. If you don't want a meter, and don't mind being limited to 35mm and greater lenses (but only with goggles) the M3 should be great. I am very happy with the M6.

    The (Cosina) Voigtlander Bessa R3M is a fine camera as well, although it ma lack some of the polish of the more expensive (and heavier) Leica. Honestly, I never had complaints about my R4A.
     
  3. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Well, I have f=35mm and f=50mm on OM-1n and EOS 650(not mechanical at all). So, I decided to have one range finder with f=75mm or above.

    After reading some nice pages in kenrockwell.com, I came to understand the limitations of rangerfinders in terms of choices of lens.

    What other options do I have when I take other than 35mm path?

    I am interested to shoot with black-and-white in an extreme low-light conditions.

     
  4. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    That's another reason to choose a Leica. I used a f/2.8 90mm wide open quite a bit in college. The camera was quiet and relatively vibration free, and focusing was accurate. A 135mm lens focused well enough, too. Leicas are even better with normal or wide angle lenses. In 58 years of using Leicas I've managed to beat two of them to death, but never had any other failure.
     
  5. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Usually it's the other way around: for example, I tend to use a 35mm on a rangefinder and a 90mm (or similar) on an SLR.
    Though it doesn't *have* to be that way...

    If you really want to use a rangefinder mainly for teles, you can get a model with a higher magnification viewfinder (in Leica's world that's 0.85 or get an M3).
    I think Cosina/Voigtländer also make a high-magnification model.

    Or get a camera which will mount a Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 :smile:
     
  6. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Erste mal Moin,

    Well, as I understood from kenrockwell that it is easy with a rangefinder camera to shoot at very low shutter speeds without a tripod because no mirror, no vibrations and so on.

    On real scenario I do not know how easy it will be.

    Will this arthematic: shutter speed ~ 1/focal length on full-frame holds for rangerfinders too. Help me to understand better.

     
  7. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    This is *partly* true.

    Shooting hand-held at slower speeds with any camera involves a certain degree of luck, chance and skill.
    Let's say that, with any camera, (carefully) shooting a 90mm lens at 1/125 should give a reasonably sharp result 90% of the time (not perfectly sharp: the difference if using a tripod will usually be visible in large enlargements).
    If you shoot the 90mm lens at 1/60, with a classic SLR (Nikon FM, F2, for example) you might have a 60% chance of a reasonably sharp picture (my % figures are examples only - YMMV) while a Leica M might yield 85% success...
    At 1/30, the classic SLR might only get 25% and the M might get 60% (again, figures are examples only).

    Some SLRs (like the Leicaflex I tried to convince you to buy in the earlier SLR thread :smile: ) have very dampened mirrors (and shutters). Their extra weight also helps stabilise things.
    I can shoot my Leicaflexes hand-held roughly at the same speeds (with the same chance of getting a reasonably sharp picture) as my M6. Your Olympus should also do very well at that. Probably you wouldn't get more than a one stop advantage using a rangefinder rather than your Olympus (again - it depends!).
     
  8. R gould

    R gould Member

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    I use Rangefinders, although not leica's, I have a Voightlander vitomatic, a couple of retina's and a contina with uncoupled rangefinder, all fixed lens, plus a MF Ensign commando 6x6/645, and with all the 35mm I have handheld down to 1/8 sec without problem, they are lighter, all mine have leaf shutters, and they lend themselves to low speed handholding,

    Richard
     
  9. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Nördlichen Deutschland?

    Bessa, Leica, or Contax maybe? Finding a 90mm or so looks to be the hardest part...
     
  10. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    A Canon P or some of the older Leica-thread-mount Canon rangefinders are highly regarded and relatively affordable. No light meter probably...

    If I were buying one today, I'd get one of the Voigtlander Bessa RF's.
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    The C/V Bessa R3A and R3M are both 1.00 magnification finders. They have a shorter RF baseline than most of the Leica M series and the newish Zeiss M mount rangefinder body. The R3M is the mechanical shutter version. (R3A has and electronic shutter and aperture priority autoexposure + manual exposure.) One of my favorite combos is an R3A with a C/V 75/2.5 and trigger winder. The trigger winder has a grip and gives me a better fit to my large hands, which extends my slow shutter range. (I'd probably have gotten the R3M, but bought the R3A before the M version was announced.)

    Lee
     
  12. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    “Best mechanical 35mm analog Range Finder camera “
    “Please recommend any camera that takes 80mm or above lenses.”


    Leica MP with 90mm f/2 Summicron
     
  13. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    With a leaf shutter, you can certainly shoot at 1/8 without an issue. I have even gone to 1/4. Either way, I try to brace before firing. (and I would say that if 35mm were nor mechanical were in the thread title, I would say "Mamiya 7" is the answer).
     
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  15. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    I'd agree on the MP and 90mm combination although the summicron is a heavy lens, the lighter elmarit-m is a feather by comparison.

    However if you are on a budget consider an older screw mount Leica, a IIIC is the most popular being reasonably priced and having the upgraded roller bearing shutter. Certainly a IIIF is a lovely machine but are a little more dear. Saving a little will allow you to shop around for a user 90mm.

    The Leica LTM's are wonderfully tactile camera's appealing to the senses, knurled winders separate shutter speed dials for slow and fast speeds (depending on the model) Older models even have the shutter wind on drum visible in the lens mount. Simply it's all on the outside, it's a camera with character and a mechanical engineers charm. But the magic comes from making photographs with a piece of history!
     
  16. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Member

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    In my opinion, it's the Leica M3, no contest. Who wants an amateur three-LED light meter (like on the Leica MP) anyway? It doesn't show you anything about your actual exposure, it only enslaves you to turn knobs until the camera brain says your exposure will be "OK". The MP is "overpriced" because, in today's economy, this is what it costs to hand-build a precise opto-mechanical instrument using German elves :smile: I like the fact that my 1960 M3 is still absolutely perfect in fucntion, it gives me confidence that it will remain this way for a long, long time. I also simply like the "look" (design) of the M3 more.

    An M3 with no meter fosters creative freedom. It is ultimately the nicest-built of all 35mm rangefinders, ever, and the 0.91x viewfinder plus the wide base rangefinder plus the proper frame lines (not dinky partial lines like in all models that followed it) make it the one to use. Seriously, if you're going to inconvenience yourself with an old mechanical camera, do it properly - all other rangefinders offer a poorer compositional and focusing experience, no question about it.

    That's been my experience, in anyway. Still, if you want a compositional and focusing experience that far exceeds a rangefinder in every way (accuracy, brightness, size of image, etc) you have to turn to certain SLRs. The OM-1n you have is close (the viewfinder is much bigger than any rangefinder). However, if you want greater clarity and brightness (as in, mind-blowing clarity and accuracy) get an OM-3 / OM-3Ti with an Olympus 2-series lumi-micron matte screen. Makes looking through an OM-1 or a Leica M3 look like mud water, it's that good.
     
  17. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Member

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    Have you ever mounted a 90 on a MP, and then mounted the 90 on an M3 straight afterwards? You'd be crazy to prefer the MP finder if you want to shoot 90mm.
     
  18. ped

    ped Member

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    Without breaking the bank, the M4P is the best bet. Rock solid, cheaper than many other M series bodies, and does the same job. I would buy this body (find a good one) and save the rest for glass. In fact, that's exactly what I did!

    ped
     
  19. jacarape

    jacarape Member

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    You really can't buy the best of anything without spending some significant money. You don't have to spend a bizillion, but you won't get a best in class camera for chicken scratch.

    Since you have a great SLR that does telephoto lenses well, why duplicate that? I never used a ZI, but I never read a bad thing about them. Plus, Zeiss never made a bad Biogon. Zeiss made lenses for Contax, Hasselblad, M Mount, and the Mars Rover Navcams are Zeiss Hologon/Biogon optics. The only camera I have now is an MP and two lenses, the 35 Lux ASPH and a 75 Lux. I used to have the 90/2.8 and a 135/2.8 but rarely used them. My next lens eventually will be a Zeiss super wide, the 18mm, or maybe the 25, or the 21, doesn't matter as I'm broke.

    Have fun hunting!
     
  20. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    If you want to experiment with the LTM concept on the cheap pick up a good FED or Zorki.

    If it works for you then buy the Leica and unload the Russian stuff for the same money you paid.
     
  21. onepuff

    onepuff Member

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    Your Olympus has very good telephoto lenses available but if you want to try a rangefinder camera with a telephoto lens relatively cheaply then a Werra may be the answer. The Werra III, V or Werramatic have interchangeable Carl Zeiss lenses including a 100mm f4 Cardinar. If you are interested, here is a link to some info http://cameras.alfredklomp.com/werramatic/.
     
  22. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I briefly (well, a couple of months) tired out a Werra kit, but was not at all impressed by the Cardinar.
    YMMV (or your sample may vary as well...)
     
  23. aluncrockford

    aluncrockford Member

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    The problem with the M3 is you are limited with your selection of wide angle lenses, if I were you then I would go for a M2 which in my experience is as good as it gets, and a lot less money than an MP
     
  24. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    First you must decide if you need interchangeable lenses in your RF camera. If you don't here are some great cameras to consider:

    Olympus RD
    OLympus SP
    Canon Canonet GIII QL17
    Yashica 35 Electro CC
    Yashica 35 Electro GTN

    All have great lenses.

    In terms of interchangeable lens 35mm RF there lots of choices. I use Leica M3, M4-P, IIIf, and IF. I also use a Contax IIa and Nikon SP.

    Conside a Canon P or the Voightlander R3/R4 cameras.

    Good luck!
     
  25. Towermax

    Towermax Member

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    This fellow on RFF did some testing of Werra lenses, and agrees with you--Cardinar the least sharp, Flektogon the best.

    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1391957&postcount=20

    I have a WerraMatic and all three lenses. The Flektogon and Tessar are in great shape. The Cardinar, unfortunately, is full of fungus--which appears to be a common problem with this lens.
     
  26. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    There are other problems with using the Cardinar on the Werra, apart from the inherent lens quality itself:
    The rangefinder base is quite small.
    The mechanical coupling between the lens and the rangefinder is very complex. It can be fine-adjusted, but mine also changed slightly each time I mounted the lens.
    The behind-the-lens leaf shutter has an extremely narrow throat (much narrower than, say, similar technologied Retina Reflex or Bessamatic cameras). This means that the rear lens element must be very small and conditions the entire design.

    Even the 35mm Flektogon on the Werra gave noticeably worse results than the "same" lens on an Exakta.