Rangefinder Recommendation

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by nwilkins, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I am looking for a rangefinder for street photography and I don't have a large budget.

    I have inherited a Yashica Minister D but I am pretty disappointed trying to use it quickly on the street, partly because the meter is a bit of a pain (it is not visible in the viewfinder), but mostly because of how the exposure works. I would like to be able to walk around at a given aperture, zone focused ahead of time, and adjust my shutter speed on the fly to get correct exposure. The Minister D seems designed to prevent this since changing the EV ring alters the aperture while retaining the current shutter speed. So to adjust for exposure you need to move the EV ring, then move the coupled shutter speed/aperture combination back to the aperture you want. It is very cumbersome and not the way I would like to operate.

    I am wondering if you guys could suggest some relatively inexpensive alternatives? Ideally I want a fixed lens rangefinder with full manual exposure and a meter displayed in the viewfinder. I believe a Ricoh 500G fits the bill - anything else I should look for? It does not have to be super compact like a Ricoh.

    Alternatively, is there some way to uncouple the aperture and shutter speed rings on a Minister D?
     
  2. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    Any of the Olympus 35 series are nice cameras. I used a 35SP as my main rangefinder for 3 years before buying a Leica M2 this year, and I still love the 35SP. It has a fantastic lens (42/1.7), two metering modes (spot and average) and full manual control in addition to a unique program auto mode. It's a great little camera.
     
  3. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    The Canon QL 1.7 has both auto and manual, only the F stops show in the iewfinder, takes 48mm filters, lens is sharp.
     
  4. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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  5. Jim Christie

    Jim Christie Member

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    I keep coming back to my Olympus XA for street photography. Rugged, very small, and takes sharp pictures (although it will vignette slightly at its largest aperture). It's an aperture-priority automatic, which sets it apart from some of the older rangefinders which tend to be shutter-priority. It doesn't have full manual but I've found the meter hard to fool. If the camera has a weak spot, it's the view finder. I find the meter and focus patch a bit hard to see, but I wear glasses which doesn't help matters. To me they are small issues since I tend pre-meter and range focus when street shooting. Good luck with your search.

    -Jim
     
  6. landscapepics

    landscapepics Member

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    I recently bought a second Olympus XA for £25, including flash and a case. For that money I don't think you'll get better image quality or some degree of manual control. Despite the lack of manual override, you can change the ISO setting if you want to depart from the suggested settings
     
  7. photo_griz

    photo_griz Member

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    Any of the Olympus rangefinders. I have them all and love the results. Olympus really made some fine lenses in the 60's and 70's for their small rangefinders. I'm particularly fond of the 35 RC. You give up one stop on lens speed but is still plenty fast (2.8). For that you get a smaller and simpler camera. The quality of image is first rate. When I shot Lieca, I couldn't see any advantage are superiority in the Leica images. (One reason I sold my M3 and accompanying lenses). I take that back. The Oly'a do not handle flare well. The RC also has an shutter priority meter, which many fans preferable for street photography, is super fast and easy to load, and a consistently get 38 exposures per roll. ISO setting upto 800 should be able to pick one up for$50 or less. I got mine for $5 from the local camera shop.

    If you want fast and auto and awesome the Nikon F100 is a dream when coupled with the 35mm f1.4.
     
  8. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    thanks very much for the suggestions everyone. it looks like maybe there is no fixed lens RF (beside the Ricoh) with a meter that works fully in manual mode, eh? Not a huge concern as I can just use sunny 16.
     
  9. dehk

    dehk Member

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    Get a Yashica Lynx 5000E or 14E. Those rings are not coupled.
    I been using a Lynx 5000(non E) with the ring that's coupled lately with no problem, different style I guess.
     
  10. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Olympus 35 RC does :smile:
     
  11. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    My Zeiss Ikon Contessa LKE does not have the diaphragm and shutter linked and the meter display is visible in the viewfinder.
     
  12. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    For street photography I would entirely ignore the possibility to check exposure in the viewfinder. Exposure is to be set beforehand. Maybe focusing is something that I would do in certain circumstances, rather than relying on zone focusing (which is never the same thing, as far as reaching proper focus is concerned).

    If you use B&W you don't really need a light meter for street photography in daylight. If using one, I suggest an external light meter. You just check the two exposure values (in the sun and in the shade) and you keep mentally ready. You should set your camera for the most likely condition (let's say shade: EV12@100ISO, 1/125@5.6 e.g.) and keep mentally this value.
    If the occasion arises in shade, you just raise the camera to your eyes, focus rapidly and take the picture.
    If the occasion arises in the sun, you close the aperture ring let's say two stops, without looking at the camera while doing that. Then you raise the camera at your eyes, focus rapidly and take the picture.
    B&W gives you ample room for exposure mistakes toward overexposure. So for street photography you could use a 400ISO exposing it at 200ISO and really do without a light meter.
    Checking exposure in the viewfinder while "in action" will IMO spoil many "street photography" opportunities.

    This is a very nice review of various compact RF cameras:

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

    For street photography I would care about the easiness of use and the quality of the rangefinder.

    I have a Canon Canonet 19 QLIII but I find focusing with it a bit clumsy. The focusing gear has a sort of "handle" instead of the usual knurled ring and I find it less comfortable to use, also the action is a bit "stiff" in my hands. A soft knurled ring is IMO the best option.

    I also have a Voigtländer Vito CLR of the sixties. It belongs to a generation which is a bit bulkier than those like the Canonet, but it has very large and bright viewfinder which has "real" magnification (1:1) and can be used with both eyes open very naturally. The range-finder is quite nice as well. It probably is a better tool for street photography than my Canonet. The lens is a tad less sharp than the Canonet IMO.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2012
  13. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    thanks - the presence of a light meter is not essential, as I am comfortable using sunny 16 for most situations. However, I would prefer to shoot with the camera already zone focused at a set aperture and be able to adjust the shutter speed as I raise the camera to my eye, should something happen to change the exposure. That is the main drawback of the Minister D for me.
     
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  15. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    I'm not sure what your budget is but I had the Voigtlander Bessa R and really loved it. I started with a very cheap Canon 50mm but then later got the Color Skopar 35mm and it was much better. This kit is very inexpensive compared to the Leica rangefinders that it competes with but still not exactly cheap. It works in full manual mode but has a meter that displays in the VF and is very easy to use. It's also has a very sweet build, although nothing like the jewel-like build of the Leicas. You can see photos of it at my blog site "Chemical Cameras". The link is in my sig.
     
  16. Yashinoff

    Yashinoff Member

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    The Petri 7s has a couple meter, there is a needle in the viewfinder and on the top of the camera, so you can adjust the exposure while holding the camera to your eye, or when you're simply walking around before you even bring the camera up to take a shot. Unfortunately the selenium cell on many of these is no longer accurate, but a good one is good.
     
  17. welly

    welly Member

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    I've got a Ricoh 500 for sale if you're interested! I don't know much about it so these guys could probably tell you more if it's suitable. PM me if you're interested.
     
  18. jmccl@yahoo.com

    jmccl@yahoo.com Member

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    There were several versions, mine is a 7s, mid sixtys. Shutter and aperture can be independently set (also has full automatic and aperture prefered), light meter is visible in the viewfinder. Rokor 45mm f/1.8 lens is well respected.

    There's my 2 cents

    Jim
     
  19. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    thanks Jim,

    that 7s sounds pretty much exactly what I am looking for - how much do they tend to go for?
     
  20. jmccl@yahoo.com

    jmccl@yahoo.com Member

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    USD $10 - $150 on e-bay, but you likely will need to have a CLA on the cheaper ones.

    Check out this group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/994592@N24/ Also, http://www.rokkorfiles.com/7SII.htm


    The light meter is not TTL. The meter reads in exposure values (EV), then you look on the barrel to set the speed and f/stop using the EV index.

    Stay in touch and I'd like to know what you decide on.

    Jim
    jmccl@yahoo.com
     
  21. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    ah so the meter is not coupled to the manual controls. at least it still functions in manual though. seems like that is rare.

    The nice thing about the Ricoh500G is that in manual mode the meter is coupled to the shutter speed, so as you change shutter speeds the meter points to the appropriate F stop in the viewfinder. If you want to expose at a particular aperture then you just move the shutter speed ring until the needle points to your chosen aperture.
     
  22. Red Robin

    Red Robin Member

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    Bessa R, one of the best under 150.00 RF bodies I have, small, if you have a large pocket and an array of hard to beat glass at hard to beat prices. Try the others but the viewfinder is second to none. The easy to use meter needs a common easy to find battery, but one can still work without it. A downside for me- -- it's so darn lite! I had to get use to its lack of weight. Is it tough? Well, it's no Canon P, but it's tough enough! Been using mine these past three years. Good luck with your choice.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2012
  23. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The truth is that everyone wants a fully advanced rangefinder with manual controls, meter and a high-speed lens. And, of course, they don't want to pay more than $50.

    Nearly everything is about compromise - either in you paying more than expected or in the features that you hope to see on a camera.

    For the money, the Cosina Voigtlander cameras offer incredible value. I would look for a used Bessa-R2. Well, I guess they're nearly all in used condition these days. I'd go for the R2 because the price should be low, plus you can use either M-bayonet or L-39 screw-mount lenses (with an adapter).
     
  24. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    I am happy to pay more than $50, but if I am getting a lower end/fixed lens rangefinder it doesn't make sense to me to pay more than I paid for my FM2 or RB67. Anyway, thanks to this thread I have lots of potential options to investigate. Thanks everyone.
     
  25. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    Voigtländer Vito and Vitorette are both great. I have a Vitorette DR — great viewfinder. No meter in the VF though.
     
  26. Endo

    Endo Member

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    If the OPs goal is the image quality, I would suggest point and shoot for this price range. A good point and shoot, such as Olympus mju or Yashica T4 will give you much better result than the cheap rangefinder lenses...