First Rangefinder

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by infinitydreams, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. infinitydreams

    infinitydreams Member

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    This is my first post so please go easy on me, I'm new to photography but am extremely keen to get stuck in and learn and improve.

    I mainly enjoy street photography and also takin casual pics of friends and family, I've recently had some fun with a HOLGA 120GN and also a Polaroid using some Impossible Project film.

    However I'd now really like to get a Rangefinder and after looking on what seems like thousands of pages I've got a list of vintage and a couple of current rangefinders. I'd love to know peoples thoughts on what one to try and secure and if Ebay is my only option? Also what price is ok to pay?

    • Canonet QL17 GIII
    • Yashica Electro 35 GSN
    • Ricoh 500RF
    • Vivitar 35ES
    • Konica Auto S2
    • Olympus RD
    • Rollei 35SE


    I've then got a Voigtlander Bessa R2A listed but that would be new and would also totally blow my budget!

    Look forward to hearing from you!
     
  2. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    The Rollei 35SE at least, is not a rangefinder camera. It is zone-focus.

    I've used a Canonet, Auto S2 and Electro 35 and they are very nice cameras. You should be able to find one quite cheap (less than $100 USD.) In my experience since they are not very valuable per se, they are not always in the best condition. Just my experience.
     
  3. infinitydreams

    infinitydreams Member

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    Are there any good vintage camera shops in the UK where I could go to buy one of the cameras I've listed.

    Also out of my list would you say the Canonet QL17 GIII is the best of the bunch?
     
  4. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Infinitydreams,

    With any of the cameras listed, condition of the specific one you get will naturally be an important factor. Repairing and/or refurbishing isn't cost-effective unless you can do it yourself. I have three of them, the Canonet, the Ricoh, and the Konica. My preference is the Konica Auto S2, but I see no reason not to try any of the others.

    Konical
     
  5. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    The three best cameras on your list are the QL17, Yashica GSN, and the Olympus 35 RD.

    The Canonet QL17 is nice because it has a mechanical shutter which can run without batteries, and it has a very good lens. The drawbacks are that the meter only works with the camera is in automatic mode. And, the automatic mode is shutter-priority, which isn't very intuitive.

    The Yashica GSN arguably has a better lens than the Canonet. The GSN is also easier to use, and is an aperture-priority camera. It's main drawback is that it has an electronic shutter which is automatic only, and it is a rather large and heavy camera. Those things aside, the Yashica GSN is capable of taking superb photos.

    The Olympus RD is a jewel compared to the QL17 or the GSN. It has a wonderful lens, and it also has a mechanical shutter. Unfortunately, it is not an easy camera to find, and it is not cheap.

    A camera which is not on your list, but which is superior to them all is probably the Olympus 35 SP. The SP has an excellent lens, a mechanical shutter, and a spot meter function. The spot meter allows for far more accurate metering than you can get with any other rangefinder camera. I often leave my Leicas at home and grab my SP when I'm going to be shooting in conditions with lots of contrast (sun and shadows). It simply does the job better than anything else of it's type.

    Other good cameras worth considering are the Yashica CC or GX, the Konica C35, or C35 FD, and the Olympus 35 RC.
     
  6. infinitydreams

    infinitydreams Member

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    I've actually located an Olympus RD for just over £100 is this too much?

    I've read the Olympus 35's all suffered from sticky issues, is this easy to fix if it happens?
     
  7. JRieke

    JRieke Member

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    I have several Yashicas and a handfull of Canonets. I like the Canon for it's parallax compensating view finder, nice small size and ability to go full manual. Having said that though... The Yashica is a better Camera. The metering is really good, I rarely ever have a bad frame in the whole roll that wasn't my fault. The lens is amazing and the viewfinder is huge and easy to see. I carry a camera with me everywhere I go and have over a hundred to choose from but the Yashica is usually the one I have with me.

    Just my two cents
     
  8. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    It requires substantial disassembly - basically you'd need a tech to take it apart and relube it. Assume that will cost an additional 100. If the camera was serviced already at some point, its possible this was dealt with already.

    One little note with the 35RD. The aperture ring almost flush against the body. It isn't the easiest to change. If you shoot primarily automatic this would be fine. If shoot mostly manual, I'd try handling one first to see if the ergonomics will bother you. One in good condition is an excellent camera which produces wonderful results.

    The Minolta 7sII is another good small one. It has a small knob at the bottom to make changing the aperture easier; I prefer the ergonomics though 7sII feels better in my hands (when i'm not changing the aperture :smile: )
     
  9. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Yashica GSN, the only slight problem is finding a battery for it.

    Jeff
     
  10. JRieke

    JRieke Member

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    no big deal, buy an adapter off ebay or make one yourself from parts at Lowes. 6V drops right in with no adjustments to the electronics needed.
     
  11. infinitydreams

    infinitydreams Member

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    Ok, well I might go for the Olympus 35RD and give it a try. Any recommendations on good quality film to use?

    I'm also considering a Voigtlander R2A with a Voigtlander 35mm F1.4 lens, any feedback?

    I'm on the hunt for a Minolta 7sII as well now!
     
  12. BobD

    BobD Member

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    You don't really need an adapter for the Yashica. Stack one CR123 and two LR44s and that's all you need. Wrap a bit of tape around the outside edge of the LR44s so they don't slide around.
     
  13. infinitydreams

    infinitydreams Member

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    Can anyone recommend a repair place in the UK? When I receive the Olympus I want to go and get it serviced.

    Also looking at a Voigtlander R2 that a user on here is offering.....any lens recommendations? Want one for street photography oh and also it can't cost more than £500

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
     
  14. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    Where are you based?

    "The Real Camera Company" on Dale Street in Manchester is a real Aladdin's Cave of a place when it comes to rangefinders (of most varieties) and lenses for Leica thread (LTM) and Leica bayonet lenses for the likes of the Voigtlander R series cameras.

    You'll need to check what bright lines appear in the R2's viewfinder when selected. I think it's 35, 50, 75 and 90mm lenses but do make sure as there'd be no point buying (say) a 21mm or 28mm lens unless you also get a hot shoe viewfinder to go with it.

    The other alternative is to look for something like a Minolta CLE. These are great little cameras and offer a relatively cheap route into rangefinder potography.

    Being ever so slightly radical, you could also do worse than audition an Olympus OM1n (or OM2n). Yes, I know it's an SLR but it's only a tiny bit bigger than a Leica M6 but it's massively cheaper and has an exceptionally bright viewfinder with 100% coverage and a superb range of optional lenses. Unless it MUST be a rangefinder, the OM1n/2n are fantastic alternatives, very portable and can be the base for a great system if you choose to build one.
     
  15. infinitydreams

    infinitydreams Member

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    Thanks for the info, I hadn't seen the Minolta CLE before and I must say it looks like an amazing bit of kit but it does seem to be carrying a fairly high price tag.......well for me anyway at the moment (just had a baby).

    Being so new to photography this forum has already been such a help, even if a little confusing with all these f numbers and framing options.

    I think I'm still going to aim for a Voigtlander R2 with a 35mm lens. Unless there are any other ideas?

    Also still interested if people think I should get that Olympus 35RD?

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
     
  16. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    This is a nice review for this class of cameras:

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

    If you want to use them seriously, take into account the need for a cleaning of viewfinder, and a realignment, maybe, of the rangefinder. That should be around another €40,00. Your mileage may vary.

    A battery adapter is "needed" for some of those cameras if you intend to use them at their best possibilities. Using a modern battery without an adapter can give you some slight metering mistake, which is not a problem if you use negative film anyway. Understanding how a light meter meters is more important in getting good results. Use of a separate, external incident light meter is IMO always adviceable and gives best results when time is on your side.

    As far as battery adapters are concerned, I suggest reading this, and maybe ordering an adapter from the maker:

    http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/batt_adapt_us.pdf

    Regarding your purchase, I would focus more on the general state of the camera, and its price, than on a specific model.

    I would like to add that the quick loading feature in the Canonet is a nice thing and I don't understand why this did not take more ground. When I change a film I have to sit somewhere and put the camera on my thighs as I need both hands to properly insert the lead in the receiving sprocket, the Canonet is the only camera I have allowing me to change film while standing. That's fast and secure.

    Fabrizio
     
  17. infinitydreams

    infinitydreams Member

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    Does anyone know a good place in the UK I can have my Olympus 35RD serviced?

    Also can anyone recommend a good website or book to teach a newbie the tips and tricks of using a rangefinder?

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk
     
  18. Dr.Pain-MD

    Dr.Pain-MD Member

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    Not really true, it's mainly the RD that is severely plagued by this problem due to the design of its shutter. The rest of Oly's 35 rangefinders aren't known to commonly suffer from this problem (to any great extent like the RD at least).
     
  19. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    When you refer to "get my Olympus 35RD serviced", does this mean you've actually bought it, or are you just thinking ahead?
    £100 for an RD sounds like top whack. I saw one in a camera shop not so long ago for £30. If I was paying £100 I'd expect the camera to have been serviced and ready to go. Have you thought about a 35RC instead? They're a lot cheaper and plenty more to choose from with only a relatively small sacrifice in specifications. I have an RC that I just keep loaded with b/w film as a take-everywhere camera and the last roll I developed surprised me with consistently good exposure worthy of a much more complex camera. The lens on the RC is excellent up to 10" x 8" enlargements and probably a lot further, though I've never tried.
    Steve