Smallest/lightest weight rangefinder

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by mporter012, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    I'm looking to pick up a really small lightweight rangefinder. I mostly use a Nikon FE2 and it's a bit too heavy for my daily comings and goings. I recently used an M7 as well, and while it was a delight to use, it's actually about the same weight as the FE2, thought smaller in size. So I'm looking to pick up something else. I almost entirely use a 35mm lens, so I don't necessarily need something an interchangeable lens camera. I'm leaning towards a Minolta CLE. The newer Zeiss Ikon is an attractive option - it's lighter than a leica. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks!

    Mark
     
  2. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I'd go with one of the many fixed lens rangefinders like a 35RC, QL17, or himatic 7sII, etc. these all use high quality lenses and will be close to 35 (usually 38-45mm). They're very small and take high quality shots.
     
  3. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Great thing about a QL17 GIII is that you can bang it around. That, in a sense, makes it "lighter" since you don't have to worry about it.

    If it breaks, you can always get another one.
     
  4. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Can I assume you mean a 35mm RF? Because they come in other formats..


    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    olympus xa is the smallest and lightest i've ever found. Pocket-size, high quality, cult following makes prices a bit higher...but a lot cheaper than a minolta cle or leica cl or their ilk. Rollei 35 is also very small and light, but lacks a rangefinder and square corners make it difficult to pocket comfortably.
     
  6. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Well, the usual suspect for "smallest," "lightest" and "rangefinder" all in the same package is an Olympus XA. But these are sooo small and light that some photographers just never seem able to warm up to them. I have one and think they are wonderful little cameras, but definitely an acquired taste. YMMV.

    Ken
     
  7. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    an XA was $235 in 1978? Wow -- that puts it more than $500 in today's money.

    And worth it, I might add.
     
  8. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Hmm. That seems high. I think that might have been the original introductory manufacturer's suggested price. Let me go take a quick look...

    OK. Here's my original receipt from December 16, 1984:

    [​IMG]

    Bought it for my wife as a Christmas gift. As I recall, her problem with it was its size. Too small. So I got her something else that she was far happier using.

    Guess who got to keep the jewel-like XA?

    :w00t:

    (And it still looks and works like brand new all these years later.)

    Ken
     
  9. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    another vote for a Olympus XA -I paid $25 for the last one I bought a few months ago...great camera to use
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Lighter isn't always better. A camera with some heft can be a better shooter, because it is a more stable platform.

    The Canon QL17 is a well-made camera, but I wouldn't think of it as lightweight. The Olympus 35 RC is a small camera that gets a lot of positive comments. The Olympus XA is very nice, but I sometimes think it is a bit too small and the finish too smooth (always use a hand or neck strap).

    There are numerous other small 35mm rangefinders from the 1970s, including offerings from Minolta, Konica and Rollei.

    The Zeiss Ikon is a full-size camera, while the Cosina Voigtlander Bessa cameras are a bit smaller.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2013
  11. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Zeiss Ikon is awesome, fairly light, but no smaller than a Leica.

    Bessa R2M, R3M, R4M are great too, maybe a little lighter than a Ikon, and a lot cheaper.

    If you don't mind finders and range finders being separate, check out Bessa T and Leica IIIf. The Leica is tiny but heavier than the Bessa T. The Bessa T is still small, and has modern conveniences like film loading, meter, and the range finder was clearer my Leica IIIf.

    If you want really tiny, there is the Contax T. It's AE only if I recall right, but it's very small and very light.
     
  12. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Johnny come lately . . . Olympus XA, which, like a turtle, has it's own built-in hard case.
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Yes a dealer near where I lived had one set with the A11 flash. He had it since 78 and couldn't sell it so he sold the set to me for $150 in 1979.
     
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  15. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    when carrying a camera weight isn't an issue but size is and how careful I have to be with the camera makes it more difficult to carry. An M7 is definitely difficult to carry as I would not want to scratch the finish. The FE is actually easier to carry.
     
  16. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    Yes, 35mm.
     
  17. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    A Contax T is just about exactly what you're looking for.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    hey, just going by the price on the web site -- i never argue with someone who can produce a receipt from 1978...

    as to concerns by others of its size being too small, it's heft too light -- not really. The lack of mass to absorb shutter shake is compensated for by the electronic shutter release which really is feather-light. You can hand-hold remarkably slow speeds with an XA.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Got any storage issues Ken? :wink:
     
  20. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I have a balda that's just like that contax that's really really small and sturdy with good glass.

    I've also got a zeiss Ikon but neither have actual coupled finders so it's all measuring ... I really would agree if the newer ikon's that are coupled are as nice, I would get one of those... I want to sell my two, the balda has a broken/frozen winder, and the Ikon I have I just tend to always throw old C-41 film in and x-process as B&W but I'm getting tired of the results and don't really have a need for it anymore...
     
  21. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    Thanks for all the replies! Both the Olympus XA and the Contax T are exactly what I'm looking for. This.was very helpful. Thanks!
     
  22. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    Can you speak on the differences between the T1, T2, T3?
     
  23. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    The T is the only one that is a rangefinder. The T2 and T3 are run of the mill luxury point and shoots.
     
  24. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    If you're looking for complete manual control, The XA is AE automatic with a +1 stop compensation. From the picture the Contax seems to be the same and both are battery dependent.
     
  25. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Heh, heh... NO! Umm... well... maybe. Umm... I mean, NO!

    So what do you think I should file this post under...??

    :unsure:

    Ken
     
  26. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    For not much more in the size dept a Leica CL or Minolta CLE would do manual control, and interchangeable lenses. but honestly I think I'd rather plunk down the 400 for a Contax T and just not worry about it. My M2 takes care of the rest.