budget RF

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by abate cruento, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. abate cruento

    abate cruento Member

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    hi
    i've always wanted to try a RF camera but never had the opportunities to try one. so i'm searching a cheap RF camera for making my first step into this world. what models can i looking for or do you recommend?

    thanks!
     
  2. Роберт

    Роберт Member

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    M7 (Leica). At the end a cheap camera if you want to sell it later :smile: The same for the M lenses. Unless you want to buy it new :laugh:
     
  3. Lukas_87

    Lukas_87 Member

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    minolta hi-matic f
     
  4. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Are you wanting interchangeable lenses or fixed lens? What is your budget? A fixed lens system will be less expensive and there are probably more available to you. The Canon canonnet QL 17GIII is a compact unit that is very popular then you have the Konica Auto S2 that is larger but fun to shoot as well as the venerable Yashica G series that are plentiful. All of these have excellent lenses and can be had for less than $50 but most often will need to be CLA'd.

    The Voightlander Bessa R cameras are probably the least expensive interchangeable lens cameras but will run into the $100+ category. The nice thing about these cameras is that you can get Russian lenses that will work. Speaking of Russian, there are a plethora of RF cameras from the 50-60's being offered on the bay but you will want to do a little research on those and find the sellers that will stand behind them as you take a chance with them not working. I have yet to to own one of these but I hear that if you are lucky you can usually get a good one at a decent price.
     
  5. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    A tested, cleaned up Russian body can approach the cost of a Bessa R, particularly if you have to buy more than one tested, cleaned up body to find a useable one. Heck, round trip shipping with the eastern sellers exchanging a body can do the same thing.

    They're good users if you can find a good one. They aren't the stunning deals they use to be though when shipping costs were cheap.
     
  6. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    www.fedka.com if you want FSU RF's and Lenses. Also the Canonent 19/17 is one of the nicest I have tried. It is the only camera I can hand hold at 1/8th second with acceptable results. Nice lens too, good for color and BW. :smile: Plus the simplicity of not having to worry about what lens to get is nice.
     
  7. abate cruento

    abate cruento Member

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    many thanks for the replies: i can start a more thorough search using your impressions.
    a fixed lens will be fine as i have in mind a 50 - 80€ camera. the bessa series is quite interesting but it's a step too long for me now.
    canonet and minolta seems a more affordable choice , the only draw back would be the battery.
     
  8. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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  9. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    The Canonet does not need a battery to operate in full manual mode. The meter works only when using the A mode, and that is the mode that needs batteries to work (based from my past Canonet 19).
     
  10. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    First and foremost, look for something working and in good condition. There are tons of options out there, very few significantly better than others. Virtually all of these cameras with good reputations take excellent photos.

    This is the set of considerations I'd throw evaluated against:

    1) Does it work fully?
    2) Do the ergonomics work well for you? (camera size, finder, etc)?
    3) Does it meet your needs (automatic/manual/both, lens speed and focal length, meter, etc)
    4) What is available in your area that you can get your hands on before making a purchase?

    ...etc
     
  11. abate cruento

    abate cruento Member

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    thanks for the info and the links,


    brian,
    these are the main questions i had in mind: primarly the ergonomics and the feeling with a RF system, this is why i'm searching for a cheap camera, and secondary at least (but not necessarly) an integrated light meter.
     
  12. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    My only experience with 35mm rangefinder cameras stems from a Minolta HiMatic 7s. A very fine camera, if somewhat on the heavy side. Has a very nice Rokkor 45mm f/1.8 lens, fully mechanical leaf shutter and a bright rangefinder. I sold mine (a bargain condition camera) for 35$. If you want something smaller, lighter and better, the 7sII is its more expensive brother.
     
  13. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    If you lived closer I would offer you a Yashica GS in working condition but the shipping would be more than the camera is worth.
     
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  15. mablo

    mablo Member

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    I wouldn't recommend an old CCCP clunker as a first rangefinder. Nor an old Leica II or III or any of the old bottom loaders. They are all very nice cameras in their own right but I think the first RF should be somewhat easier to use. A Yashica G*, Minolta 7 or a Canonet are fine provided they are in good working condition. My own suggestion would be an Olympus 35 RC. It's small and cheap but very much a real rangefinder.
     
  16. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I would not recommend any of the russian range finders. They are quit crude in design and not very dependable. However many of the Leica mount russian lenses are quit good. Get a used Voightlander Bessa or one of the Yashica G series.
     
  17. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Zeiss Ikon Contessa if you really want a 35mm, it's a fixed single lens but they will get the job done. There is a lot of alphabet soup after the word "Contessa" but not a lot of difference, find the one that fits your budget and you should be fine.

    There is the Polaroid 340 as well it is a rangefinder, it's cheep, and while it is a different film format, getting prints is really easy.
     
  18. Jojje

    Jojje Member

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  19. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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  20. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    I can recommend a Konica Auto S2, a Canonet QL 17GIII, and a Yashica Electro GSN. Minola Hi-Matic series also comes to mind.

    I started with a fixed-lens rangefinder and I see no reason to move to interchangable lenses.
     
  21. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I too recommend an Konica Auto S2, very good camera for the price.

    Jeff
     
  22. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Any of those should be fine. Pick the one which you find in good condition, at a good price.

    http://www.cameraquest.com/com35s.htm

    Another option would be one of the mentioned Voigtländer, I have a Vito CLR. They are not as compact, and the lens is normally not faster than f/2.8, but the viewfinder is much larger and if there is a range-finder that's easier to use.

    I would look for a camera in good condition around €40, and then have a cleaning-lubrication-adjustement (CLA) performed which should cost around €40 (depending on the conditions of the camera). With €80 you'll have a dependable camera with a clean and bright viewfinder.

    Most of those have automatic exposure if you need it. Some of those used a mercury battery. You can use a normal battery instead and accept a small exposure mistake (no problem if you use negative film) or you can buy an adapter for around €15 which brings the light-meter behaviour very near what it would be with a mercury battery. Or you can restrict the choice to the cameras which were not made for a mercury battery.

    Or you can just use an external lightmeter which is always the best option if you are not in a hurry.

    Fabrizio
     
  23. R gould

    R gould Member

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    Any of the Voightlander Vitomatic cameras, look for the color skoper lens, and you will get a great rangefinder camera, with one of the best viewfinders of the period,
    Richard
     
  24. abate cruento

    abate cruento Member

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    woah! a lot of candidates to choose from... thanks!
     
  25. steveniphoto

    steveniphoto Member

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    i would go for a yashica electro 35 gsn. i have one and love it.
     
  26. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    I second the Olympus 35 RC. Or start with a Trip.