Rangefinder and 50mm Lens Recommendation

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Darren Guy, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Darren Guy

    Darren Guy Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm
    This topic is kind of like beating a dead horse, but for the sake of getting my hit in and not stealing other members posts (or their own hits).......

    Coming from a DSLR, I've been using a Minolta X-700 with 50mm lens exclusively for about eight months now. In that time I have started processing my own film (HP5+, DD-X), and selling off my very seldom used digital gear piece by piece. Once I get rid of the DSLR body that will do it.

    I have been using the X-700 in manual mode, and have replaced the batteries twice. I replace them even though I don't reference the meter as the shutter requires it. Learning to expose based on the the sunny-16 rule, manually focusing, and processing my film has been a sort of liberation for me. I get much more satisfaction out of my photography by this process, and wish to continue with it long-term - mostly street and documentary related.

    So, I'd now like to look for a rangefinder to have something quieter, a camera that allows me to actually see the moment of exposure, slightly smaller than the X-700, and not requiring any sort of battery - totally mechanical, which would be handy for my occasional backpacking outings. I like the field of view with the 50mm lens, and would like to stick with it. My budget is rather limited, but I think I could swing $500-ish give or take a small bit. I need something that will be a good shooter, reliable, and not just a display piece.

    I've been looking at the newer model QL-17, the QL-17 GIII, and a couple of others. I think these are battery dependent though, and most don't have the 50mm lens. Ideally I'd have the funds for a Leica M3 and 50mm, but I'm short on that by a ways. I thought about a Mamiya C220 or Rolleiflex TLR for medium format work, but I feel I should probably take care of the rangefinder issue first.

    Any recommendations or thoughts?

    EDIT: I wear eyeglasses, so a good viewfinder is even more important. I tried an old Canon RF the other day, and had troubles seeing the entire frame.
     
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,537
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Welcome to the rangefinder world of precise framing, clockwork mechanisms (batteries not required) and simplicity of use (50mm lens only). Stick with it, you will not be dissapointed. May I suggest the M2?
     
  3. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,962
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    An M2 wd be great but I have never see a M2 and lens for $500 and less so then what are you left with?

    Well I think, correct me of I am wrong, but Katie and I forget his name got a Bessa R4M (m=manual) for $500'ish with lens?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2012
  4. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,614
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Battery only required for Automatic aperture. Twist the aperture dial off A and you are full mechanical manual.

    Granted, you get a 40mm f/1.7 Canon lens. 40 is an ideal backpacking lens to me. When I bring a 40, I can leave home the 35 and 50.
     
  5. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,962
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    There is always the Yashica Lynx 14 and 14E, often called a Yashicalux. They have a massive f1.4 lens, quite a fun camera, I use one and love it. $100'ish on the bay....

    But the lens is 45mm if that 5mm is a deal breaker then forget the Lynx

    It has a built in meter, but if you don't put the battery in the camera it will still work just fine as the Lynx 14(E) is all manual if you want to be
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2012
  6. Darren Guy

    Darren Guy Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm
    So I could use this camera without a battery - albeit full manual mode?
     
  7. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,614
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Exactly
     
  8. Darren Guy

    Darren Guy Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I didn't realize that. Going into the back-country, and relying on batteries, is not something I like to do - even though that's limited to 3-4 times per year. For street work (most of my shooting) it would be ok although I would prefer not to need batteries.

    There is a newer model QL17 for sale around here. Not the GIII, but I think it may suffice. $60. Would I be better off spending a few hundred more for a different camera/lens combo, staying in the $500 or less range, or does that not get me much more than what the $60 in this case will?
     
  9. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That $60 Canonet will serve you well, I don't think you will be disappointed with the handling and the quality of the lens. For the left over money just buy some film/paper/chems or an enlarger if you dont have one yet. :smile:
     
  10. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,614
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I can't remember what the refinement of the GIII offered, think it was very minor.

    It would be good to get one for $60, try it out as-is and see how it feels. Keep $140 in your budget for CLA. Chances are the foam seals need replacement.
     
  11. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

    Messages:
    770
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    Leiden, Neth
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've done lots of hiking, also in the worst of conditions, carrying a variety of battery dependent cameras (and/or light meters). Never had any problem at all with the electronics and/or batteries.

    Ask yourself if you really require a fully mechanical camera, as this severely limits your options.

    I myself wear glasses too. The viewfinders of the Voigtlander Bessa rangefinder series have always made me happy. Dioptres are available, standard Nikon thread, reasonable prices.

    Voigtlander lenses are affordable new (the Skopar 50/2.5 is a fine lens), otherwise a used Zeiss (ZM 50/2) may just be in range.

    BTW, the Bessa RxM series do actually have mechanical shutters (the light meter takes two cheap and everlasting LR/SR44's, but you're always free to use sunny 16).

    Canonets are great cameras if properly CLA'd, but the viewfinders are by far not as nice as the Voigtlanders'. For me, as a glasses wearer, this is a big thing.
     
  12. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,537
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Why?
     
  13. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

    Messages:
    770
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    Leiden, Neth
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Because most cameras are not fully mechanical, i.e. most require a battery for either the shutter or the light meter, or for both.

    Not sure that I understand your question correctly, cliveh.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,537
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Sorry, I think I am misreading your previous quote.
     
  16. Darren Guy

    Darren Guy Member

    Messages:
    18
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm

    There is a guy around here that has a Voigtlander Prominent II, Ultron 1:2 50mm, Dynaron 1:4.5 100mm, Proximeters, 50mm Turnit, metal hood, cases, flash, and misc... for $500. From the pictures, it looks to be in exceptional condition.

    My local reputable camera repair shop has a QL17 GIII that they just did a CLA on. They are backing their work if I buy the camera. They want $90. This might be the way to go for now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2012
  17. Red Robin

    Red Robin Member

    Messages:
    69
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Wrinkle City
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    A Bessa-R with it's cheep easy to get batteries, a humungous array of LSM top quality lenses to suit most any budget, makes this choice an easy one. It's fine viewfinder and inexpensive cost manage to cure me of a severe case of Leica fever, so far. Simply put this camera is a fine piece of craftsmanship - a joy to use. My 2 cents worth good luck with your selection process.
     
  18. DBP

    DBP Member

    Messages:
    1,895
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Alexandria,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bessa R or one of the Leica Screw mount competitors like a Canon P or L is a good start to a system with an endless choice of lenses.

    If you want to try a good and extremely manual camera that you can actually repair while backpacking there is the Argus C-3. The viewfinder is bad, the shutter only goes to 1/300th, and not even shutter cocking is automatic, but the lens is very good and you can get one for less than $20. If you tell people you really like old cameras someone will eventually probably just give you one.

    As for portability, and a good viewfinder, the Retinas are hard to beat.
     
  19. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,067
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    $90. is about the going rate for a CLA'd Glll. It's a very nice camera to use too.
    Pretty sure I'd go that way If you for the $60 one you may find it costing more than the $90 one not too far down the road.
     
  20. Jon Goodman

    Jon Goodman Member

    Messages:
    656
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi Darren.
    If you have a good eye for exposure/light, the Zorki 4 from 1956 (the first year it was made) and the Jupiter lens from the same year is going to be difficult to beat. This was as close as the Russians ever came to the Leica they were copying. It was so popular the following year they increased production by three or four fold and the camera was never the same again...not that it was bad, but it was more noisy and more pedestrian-feeling with each passing year. When Ed Romney was still alive, he posted a scan/crop of a picture taken with that lens of a man jogging several hundred yards away and the detail was amazing. In addition the viewfinder is large and bright and includes an adjustable diopter which is very good if you wear glasses or contacts. The Yashica Lynx 14 is good. The Lynx 14E is one to avoid in my opinion. At least I'll say the electronics were crude and they fail frequently. Canonets are good, Konica Auto S-2 is good. Another I like quite a bit is the Minolta Hi-Matic 9. Has full range of speeds, good rangefinder/viewfinder and nice lens. If you get a Canonet, make sure whoever serviced it knows how to repair the flash carbon ring. If they look confused when you ask, don't buy. The Canolite D flash is very neat, but if the flash ring hasn't been fixed it won't work correctly and some repair shops don't know how to repair it. Whatever you choose, good luck. You probably won't go too far astray.
    Jon
     
  21. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,614
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Local camera store has/had an Olympus SP and Kodak Retina III c. Man what a treasure trove!
     
  22. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,446
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A Kodak retina II or III may be a good choice. Folds easy to carry, the 50mm lens is very good. I have a IIIC big that was given to me in 1965, the light meter is still spot on, takes a while to get use to the controls, the EV system that links the shutter to the apature can be a pain, dont waist your money on the 35mm or 80mm. I am taking it to Iceland this summer. Some like the Retina S better, I have not used one so cant comment. Another to consider is a Petri 7S with the fast 50mm 1.7 prime.
     
  23. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,537
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I have one of these and bought it because I thought it was a very interesting design. However, I have never really used it as it is a bit like trying to take pictures with an Imperial Typewriter with a Legal Carriage.
     
  24. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

    Messages:
    1,844
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Location:
    Rome, Italy
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have both a Canon Canonet QL-19 and a Voigtländer Vito CLR. The first seems to me to have a better lens (besides being "faster").
    The second one has a way better viewfinder - rangefinder, but is not as small as the Canonet. For a glass wearer the Vito CLR is probably better. A CLA is probably mandatory for whatever bought second hand, add $40 or so for the CLA to your cost estimation.

    A more expensive alternative would be to look for a Minolta CLE or a Leica CL. Those are small, fairly inexpensive, mount Leica M lenses, have good overall quality. The Minolta CLE needs a battery (probably the Leica CL as well).

    A Konica Hexar RF is another alternative I would take into account.

    If you don't have a large collection of cameras which you use now and then, that is, if you use "only" one or two cameras, then batteries should not be a problem, just keep spare ones with you always, they are cheap after all and should never be a problem to have spare one with oneself.

    A very good comparison of compact rangefinder cameras of the seventies can be found at:

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

    sangetsu Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Location:
    東京
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    A Canon 7 or Canon P would both be good choices. They offer larger viewfinders than many of the Barnack type cameras or Soviet copies. The Canon rangefinder cameras are relatively inexpensive, and they are usually fitted with very good quality 50mm lenses. 35mm and 28mm lenses were also produced, or you can use LTM lenses made by Leica, Voigtlander, Nicca, etc. You can easily find a clean Canon 7 or Canon P with a 50mm lens for less than $500
     
  26. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

    Messages:
    2,115
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The trigger wind canons are quite beautiful. I have been playing with my new vi-t and the small 50mm 1.8 serenar and it's a great combo. I also have the older vt and that's a great camera too except there are two speed dials. Both are more well built than the later versions such as the 7 or P, like a brick lol. If you like trigger wind style it is the cheapest option, I see leicavit and bessa trigger winders cost more than the cost of a canon vt or vit body.