Cheap old 35mm rangefinders

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Snapper, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    Can anyone recommend any old, cheap 35mm RF's - ie less that £100 ($150). I need one to take places I wouldn't want to take an expensive camera, and I want it small and inconspicuous with just a 50mm lens. I had a Yashica Electro GT to take to Glastonbury this year, but it suddenly developed light leaks, so needs replacing. Before I buy another Electro, is there anything else I should consider?
     
  2. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    If the light leaks are because crumbling old lights seals why don't you replace them?
    Hans
     
  3. Leon

    Leon Member

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    Hope this isnt too obvious, but have you checked why it's leaking light? My Electro needed the light seals replaced as soon as i bought it - it is a REALLY easy job to do. You can buy the material from an ebay seller called "interslice" VERY VERY cheap and he manages to get it sent across the atlantic in about 3 days for less than £1 p&p (not sure how he does that) - the stuff come with very clear and concise intructions on how to remove the old and install the new. this is of course assuming that the light seals are the reason.

    cheers
     
  4. rjs003

    rjs003 Member

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    Yes replace the light seals. I have an electro 35 that failed electrically and have replaced it with a Voigtlander Vitomatic II. Very small and light weight and built like a tank. One other camera that you may want to consider is the Konica Auto S 2 or S 1.6 both very good range finders and all are available on E-bay at bargain prices.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member

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    I have a little Voigtlander vf101, perfect in everyway for a small rangefinder and the meter is spot on, however I have found very light film scratches so am investigating that. You can see some pics taken with my vf101 at http://www.fineartphotography.co.nz/gallery -it's in your price range too. Search ebay for "vf101" if your interested..
     
  6. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    The light leaks show up as fairly sharp vertical bands about 1/4 of a negative's width evenly spaced throughout the film. At first I thought I may have accidentally opened the film back, but I ran a whole film through with the lens cap on and got the same problem.

    Any ideas? Is this fixable?
     
  7. Leon

    Leon Member

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    look at the light seals ... are they all sticky and gooey? - if so, replace them!
     
  8. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Canon GIII QL17

    Canon GIII QL17 - you can typically buy 3 of them for the cost of a Leica lens cap. Pick your favorite. I got a pretty nice one for $30, smelled like cigars for a while but sharp as a tack and much quieter than an M6. Nice finder too.
     
  9. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    kodak retina models can be had for fairly cheap. I have a Retina IIIc and love it.
    solid as a rock. and the pictures are great.
     
  10. sparx

    sparx Member

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    A friend of mine has just picked up a canon (not sure of the model) off ebay for £65. The only thing he has found wrong with it is the PC socket doesn't work. The bargains are out there if you look.
     
  11. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    ahhhhh...I have a Kodak Retinette IB which is very nice. I take it with me on every vacation along with a goooood load of B/W film. Damn I love it.

    Morten
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    cheap old rangefinders

    In addition to Canon GIII, Olympus had a couple of compact rfdr cameras. 35SP w/1.7 40mm, 35RC w/2.8 42mm neither were battery dependent except for meter, both were leaf shutter & very quiet. Optics similar to Canon.
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't forget the FED-2. It may look like something worth money from a distance, but the cyrillic lettering puts most thieves off. Which is good, because the camera actually is a lot better than its reputation! Again, a camera + 50mm/3.5 Elmar copy costs you less than a lenscap for a real Elmar.
     
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  15. JHannon

    JHannon Member

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    I have several of the Yashica Electro 35 cameras. I had to replace the light seals on all of them. As the others said, it is easy to do and there are some kits out there with instructions.

    Another choice is the smaller Olympus 35RC. Automatic or manual settings, exposure lock. http://www.cameraquest.com/olyrc.htm

    John
     
  16. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    Thanks everyone. I checked the lightseals last night, and yes, they are crumbling, especially around the take-up spool. I will see if I can fix it myself.

    I did have a surf around looking at the various alternatives suggested and I really liked the look of the Soviet cameras - the FED 4 in particular. Has anyone used them? How do the Soviet rf's compare to the Canon/Olympus?
     
  17. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    The Fed is a good camera with a few buts and ifs. The optics are not bad at all. The body sturdy and heavy and mechanically a bit unrefined, the construction a bit sloppy.So check for loose screws etc. I used to own a couple of Feds and Zorkis but never used them much -and for B&W only- as I found operating them rather cumbersome.
    Hans
     
  18. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have a collection of FEDs - and I use them. They are somewhat clunky but are good picture takers and the Lanthanum glass lenses (Industar-61 f2.8/52mm), standard equipment on the FED 4 and FED 5 are very good lenses, indeed. They (FED 4s & FED 5s) typically sell for less than $50. new.

    Russian/Ukrainian quality control is - problematic. That is one reason why the prices are low.
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a FED-2, wit ha FED 50/3.5 collapsible lens. Built like a tank (T-52?), has a very long-baseline rangefinder which at least in this case is very, very precise. An added bonus for me is htat the dioptre correction on the viewfinder goes all the way to -4. So I'm actually able to see through the viewfinder - which is about a first.

    Didi I mention that I also have a large number of FED, Industar-22 and Industar-50 lenses, all collapsible and 50mm/f:3.5? :wink: I promise to test the accuracy of the focusing of any lens before I foist it off on someone else :smile:
     
  20. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Collapsible....

    Yes? I've been thinking of finding one on EBay m'self, to put on my IIIc and make it pocketable.

    (Factoid: my Canon GIII is almost exactly the same rectangular size as my PDA, and lighter. Makes it hard to beat)
     
  21. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Hi. I am new to APUG but here's my two penn'orth.
    I have a Zorki 4K which I have owned from new. It is easy to use, reliable and built like a tank. Just remember never to adjust the shutter speed unless the camera is wound on,(I believe FEDs are similar in this respect). Easily available on ebay at very low prices.
    I would also recommend the Olympus XA. A very small full frame rangefinder with an almost silent shutter. I use an XA2 regularly, the only difference being the XA2 has zone focussing.
    Good luck in your search.
     
  22. vazquez

    vazquez Member

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    I'm very happy with a pair of Kiev 2a/4a RF's, the Contax II clones made
    at the Arsenal factory in Ukraine. They are cheap (USD 24-30 on EBay), have
    a good Zeiss clones lenses (35mm f/2.8, 50 f/1.5 f/2; 85mm f/2; 135mm f/4)
    and are robust and reliable.
     
  23. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Look in ebay for INTERSLICE, he sells a light-seal replacement kit that is excellent.
    He charges something like $7 for the US, he may charge you an extra dollar to send overseas

     
  24. gma

    gma Member

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    If you are really serious about old and cheap how about the Argus C3. They are Bakelite with a lot of shiny chrome- really a Deco industrial design piece. You will stand out in a crowd. The 1950's & 60's models had a coated f/3.5 three element lens. They sell for $20 to $50 in the US. The C4 and C44 ( poor man's Leica) are upgraded models with f/2.8 & a few interchangeable lenses are available. They cost about $75 in the US. I would avoid the C2 and early C3s with uncoated lens unless you are after a retro look. Also avoid the C3 Matchmatic with an exposure value system rather than f stops. Everyone should use a C3 sometime.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2004
  25. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    Well, I ended up getting a Fed-4 for £15 on Ebay. It works perfectly, is in great condition and the pics aren't too bad either.
     
  26. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Fed-4? lucky you! I got scammed by some dude in Russia 3 years ago.

    I got 2 Zeiss Contessas (non folding) and while the lenses are only 3 element Tessar I like the cameras a lot and the pictures have a nice look.