Having a hard time deciding on a rangefinder

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Depth, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Depth

    Depth Member

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    So I'm basically looking at picking up a rangefinder for walkaround use since all my SLR and DSLR gear is just too bulky. And now that I'm in college I no longer have access to my dads Leica M6. :sad:

    So basically I'm down to these two choices:

    Voigtlander R2M

    or

    Zeiss Ikon

    Either one will be paired with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4.

    Now what makes this choice hard is the price. Even if I order the Zeiss off eBay (which actually is quite a bit cheaper) it's still a lot more expensive than the Voigtlander. And as a college student the more money in my pocket the better.

    So should I suck it up and get the Zeiss for some of it's benefits like more accurate focusing or will be Voigtlander be sufficient?
     
  2. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    More accurate focusing with a f/1.4 lens *is* pretty important....

    Of course there'll be posts telling you that if you always use the lens at f/5.6 or less, that won't be a problem! ;-)
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Between those two, for the use you describe, I'd probably go for the Voigtlander and more money in my pocket for film and hamburgers.

    But what I'd personally go for would be a Leica M2 and a professional service. It is better made than either of the other two, and will cost about as much as the Bessa. This is a camera that will last you for life, and with which very few sacrifices were made in quality when it was constructed.

    Of course, something brand new does have great appeal sometimes. However, if these choices are all about having an in-camera meter, I would say that you will get much better results with a convenient hand held incident meter like the Sekonic Studio Deluxe or L-308 than you will with any in-camera meter. I'd personally prefer that most cameras did not have meters, if it made them a bit cheaper! But wait! It does make them cheaper! Take, for example, the Leica M2.......
     
  4. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Spend your money on film, not a more expensive camera. Making photographs is what counts, not what you hang off your shoulder.
     
  5. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    Here is another vote for the M2. I too use a hand held meter. The M2, paired with the 35/1.4 will make you very happy. It is well worth the money and will last you a long time. (Probably better than your dad's M6).
     
  6. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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    OK, I may get flamed for this,but have you considered any of the FSU RFs out there? Don't get me wrong, if I had the $$$$ I would love to own a Leica, specialy an M2, but being just a working stiff, and trying to pay my bills, that's just not going to happen. How ever I do own a small stable of some fine FSUs that I consistantly get excelent results from. I have a FED 2, which is a very stylish blue, 2 Zorkis (a 4, and a 4k), and a Kiev 4. The FEDs, and Zorkis both take 30mm LM lenses so the glass for one its the others. Nice feature that allows me to have one body with a wide angle, and one with a prime, ar short telephoto. I know there is alot of talk about the "questionable" workmanship with these cameras (hey they were made by convicts at one plant), but I have been lucky in that I've never had any problems with any of them. The Industar, Jupiter, and Orion lenses always amaze me with their crispness, and great contrast. I have seen some fins color work from them too, but I only shoot B&W. Take a look on the "bay", and you'll find some of these little beauties for a fraction of what you'll see the Germans going for. Look for a reputable seller with great feedback, and lots of sales. I would suggest The Zorki 4k, as it has a thumb film advance, and handles pretty much as a Leica does. Also, if you do go the FSU route, be sure to do as much research as you can. They all have their own interesting, and sometimes annoying little quirks, but once you get used to them, they really are quite endearing cameras. Oh yeah, the FEDS, and some of the Zorkis come in many fashonable colors too.
     
  7. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    You do not mention a budget, shooting style or subjects interest. But, I'll go out on a limb and suggest that rather than blow big bucks for a college camera look for a vintage camera in good condition. It need not be in collector condition. Some of the older European makers had excellent glass on the front end and even today they are excellent shooters. Many use a near bullet proof leaf shutter that at most needs a decent cleaning and lube to bring back. Depending on the layout, they can be a folder or fixed front and may include a rangefinder, either coupled or noncoupled.

    It is amazing just how good a bargain they are and many for less than the cost of a half dozen rolls of film and processing the total cost including servicing can be had. With a little looking at the thrift stores many can be found in the $5 bin along with those plastic junkers.

    Two favorites of mine include the Contina II, a folder with a Novar lens and a Vito B with the Color-Skopar. These both are built to hammer nails with and feel so wonderful in the hand. Flash is up to 1/500th as they are leaf shutters so fill flash is so much easier. I happen to have both and when going out I used to grab one of them as often as either my Bronica or Leica. The Contina II folded fits so in a jacket pocket and it has a noncoupled rangefinder. Either use the Sunny 16 rule (very easy to master) or pick up an inexpensive light meter, something like a Pilot can be had for about the price of a pack of cigarettes.

    Now, for some real fun, look for an Argus C3 with the auxilary lenses or the late interations. These American icons are so basic but include a coupled rangefinder and with the 3 lenses are actually quite decent and once you learn the character of them they can produce very good results. While the Russian cameras may be chique, they are not as reliable so they are more of a crapshoot.
     
  8. d.sge

    d.sge Member

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    If you opt for the Bessa, consider buying from Camera Quest or Photo Village instead of B&H. That'll save you $50 from the get go.

    If you're willing to sacrifice a few degrees in magnification, there's always the R3*/40mm combo. It's got a longer EBL than the R2* and the 40mm is about $150 cheaper despite the similar design.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2010
  9. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

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    Another vote for the M2 and an external meter...with a 35m lens it's a classic combo.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  10. lilmsmaggie

    lilmsmaggie Member

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    I sent you a PM. Save your money for film and glass.
     
  11. premo

    premo Member

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    I've got 2 fed2's and several Argus C3's. They all have their quirks but once you get used to them, they're fine. Nobody mentions which one fits your face. These two makes fit mine, and both have excellent lenses. Telephotos and w/a's are easier to find for argus C3's however.
     
  12. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    If you are used to your Dad's M6 you will be spoilt.

    The cheapest M body is a beaten up M4-2, not as nice as a M2 (or a M6) but still fast handling, don't bother with a service us it until it breaks badly.

    For a lens I'd get

    for a 35mm a CV pan or classic in LTM f/2.5, no detectable difference at /5.6
    for a 28mm a CV LTM f/3.5, again no detectable difference at /5.6, and you can push your luck down to f/4 - depth of field means f/2.8 is real difficult.

    These 28mm CV are more difficult to get.

    Bulk/or cine film in IXMOO.

    Noel
     
  13. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Saving even more money........
    A Canon body and LTM lenses. Your film won't mind. Your wallet will be grinning.
     
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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When I got a sudden need for a fast longish lens and accurate focussing in low light - and a noiseless camera - I got a Voigtländer Bessa T and a Jupiter 80mm f:2. I added an Industar 61 L/D 55mm f:2.8 for outdoors work..
     
  16. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I had the same choice a little while ago, went for the ZI, and don't regret it for a second. Zeiss service has been awesome, and it gets admiring glances all over the place. My brother has a Leica M6 and I probably prefer the ZI, not sure I'd say the same for a Bessa. I think the Voigtlanders look like great cameras though, and if you can spend the savings on a great lens, it maybe the Bessa is for you. In fact, if I broke the ZI, I'd probably take a look at the Bessa cameras, they're inexpensive enough to maybe consider getting two for the different frame lines.
     
  17. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi Wayne

    I prefer a Canon P to a M, cheaper and faster handling for street shooting. But you use M5s still? SInce LTM CV lenses were available the Canon P have increased in price.

    Noel
     
  18. thomasw_

    thomasw_ Member

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    i like the P as well, except for the fact that you can't use M-mount lenses on it. Whereas a M-mount body can take LTm lenses, so a M body is more versatile.

    Another vote for a meterless M. If you can afford a new Bessa, you can afford a user M2.
     
  19. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    No not when you are on a budget and street shooting, even ignoring your optimism about maintenance, & reliability.
    An (any) M is slower to reload than a P, If you are getting a M2 you may need the quick load kit..
    If you are street shooting then you need depth of field so you will be using f/5.6 with a 35mm maybe f/4 with a 28mm, - at most The CV lenses (except tor the f/1.1, ansd /1.4 35mm and 40mm, and the fast 75mm) are all available in LTM, 2nd hand they are modern lenses and a match the modern Leica lenses, note Leica don't make a 12mm.
    The LTM lenses are cheaper then the M lenses...
    A P is 50% of the price on an M2 in same condition...
    The only real snag is the maintenance costs of a M2 and Canon P will be the same, except the P long term will be or will tend to be more reliable.

    Noel
     
  20. KenR

    KenR Member

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    Shooting with an external meter is not as fast as an integral meter (although it may be more accurate). That's something to try before deciding on a camera like an M2 or M3 compared with the ZI or the Bessa.
     
  21. chrismoret

    chrismoret Member

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    What camera body you will buy is of less importance. Just buy what your budget can handle.
    But it is wise to invest in good 'glass'. Top-quality lenses give you good quality images and last a life time.
     
  22. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Shooting with an external meter is faster than a internal meter (like a M6), you preset the exposure and memorize any changes for shadow or in sun.
    That is if you want decisive moment pictures, Ilford XP2 f you are not confident.
    A M7 will be as fast as a external meter but may be more or less accurate, depending on the subject being near to a normal subject and your ability to predict lighting changes, (the M7 is a semi spot meter, like the M6).
    Both the ZI and Bessa are made by Cosina. they are lasting well longer then predicted, but are more dependent on spare modules more then a M2 or Canon P, they are more like M8 or M9s for maintenance.

    Noel
     
  23. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Another overlooked option is the Contax G series. If you go that route, get the G2. I know I know, purists delight in hating the autofocus and autoexposure, and none of the lenses go faster than f2. But that's never been a problem for me in my use of the cameras, and the quality of the optics speaks for itself. Just to give you a little perspective on them, I've taken my G2 (and my G1 backup) on several vacation trips - in one trip, the G2 and 21mm lens paid for themselves in prints sold. Were I a better marketer, I probably could have paid for the entire trip in print sales.
     
  24. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I agree. Or if you want an internal meter, a newer version of the Leica, such as the M6.
     
  25. nosmok

    nosmok Subscriber

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    How about dirt cheap?

    Buy 20 Olympus XA's off that auction site for what you'd spend on either Zeiss or Voigt. Or find eight from a reputable dealer . It's the ultimate grab and go camera, takes great pics, meters well in low light, pocketable. I can't praise it enough.

    --nosmok
     
  26. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    If you don't mind vignetting, not-so-sharp corners, flare and a rather odd (though characteristic) overall look....