What is your favorite collapsible daily carry user between these 3?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by msbarnes, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I have an M2/M3 with rigid lenses. It's great when my intention is to go out to shoot, however I find it a bit too big/expensive/bulky for a daily carry. I would like something less expensive (incase it gets stolen/lost/damaged), more compact (so I can slip it into my bag), but still sturdy and with decent ergonomics.

    Kodak Retina:
    i have this camera. I don't mind the viewfinder. It is bearable but still useable. The ergonomics are a bit awkward. I don't mind the film advance location but the shutter/aperture linkage is annoying. The size is great but it never seems ready to shoot. I have to fold it out and look at the lens and work with the EV system whenever I want to adjust the exposure. I don't think a better folder exists.

    Leica IIIc/f
    I do not have thsi camera. I think I can bear the viewfinder. The ergonomics don't seem as fast as the M but I have direct access for the aperture which is good enough. The lenses that I would consider would probably be the Elmar 50mm f3.5 or Summitar 50mm f2.0. I think the prices are comparable (between the two lenses) but the former is more compact and the later is faster. I figured that the both lenses wouldn't be the best to use wide-open though. The advantage of the Leica over the Retina is mostly ergonomics. Both viewfinders aren't the greatest but both are good enough for my purpose I think.

    Rollei 35s/t
    If I'm going to get a Leica IIIc/f + Elmar then I feel that I might as well get a Rollei 35. The viewfinder is probably the best of the two other cameras and I do not think the scale-focusing would be that limiting IF I were happy with an f/4-f/8 lens. (scale focusing f2.8 seems uselses but there are some other advantages of the Sonnar...speed is not one of them).

    I don't want to own too many cameras so part of me wants the Retina for low light and Rollei 35 for good light. Or the Leica IIIc/f as a compromise. The cost is much more but the versatility is greater.

    My selection is primarily between these three because I really prefer older glass and lenses. I don't like the automation of the Olympus cameras (XA, epic) but I keep epics because they are almost disposable (I got both of mine for under $10).
     
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  2. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I think the Contax T would be the way to go, if you have the money. As big as a pack of smokes, and with a killer lens. I'd like to get one at some point to keep in my pocket.
     
  3. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Actually nevermind this thread. I realized that this is like asking what the best fruit is. I can see excellent uses for either cameras.
     
  4. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    You got it. Shoot em if you got em.

    I use the Sears Tower Type 3 (a Leica III clone) with the Elmar 50/3.5. I have the Leica IIIc as well but the Type 3 is just a bit smaller. I can slip the Type 3/Elmar combo into my shirt pocket and go anywhere. I carry a little yellow slip on filter in my pocket and a couple rolls of Arista Premium 400 and I'm good to go. But it does take some getting used to. The rangefinder/viewfinder combo is much smaller than the other options so that will take some practice for you to get accustomed to it. Believe me, it can be a bit frustrating at first. I do it just because I love the feel of using those old cameras but that isn't enough for most people.

    I use a Zeiss Ikon with the MS Optical 50/3.5 collapsible as well. It is almost as pocketable (a jacket or vest pocket is a better fit for this setup) but that monstrous, clear, ZI viewfinder makes it a whole lot easier for most people to work with. And having an in-camera meter doesn't hurt.
     
  5. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    olympus xa.
     
  6. sangetsu

    sangetsu Member

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    I carry a couple of the cameras you mentioned, namely the Retina (in my case a IIIc), and a Leica IIF with a collapsible Summicron. The Leica II (or other Barnack cameras on my shelf) has always been my pocket camera, it is smooth, quiet, and the old lanthanum glass gives the photos a nice character. I recently picked up the Retina as it was being sold as a non-working parts camera. It took me 2 or 3 minutes to fix it, and I spent a day shooting it. I was amazed at the results, easily the best camera I have ever bought for the price. I have never tried a Rollei, so I can't offer an opinion on it.
     
  7. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I've had good photos from a Retina, but don't mind the extra bulk of a Leica M4 for the added features. For years a collapsing Summicron was my most often used lens; better than the Elmar f/3.5. Better yet in compact lenses is the Elmar f/2.8. It was one of the finest lenses I ever tested, but never owned.
     
  8. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    Go with a IIIc with the 35mm Summaron. Have you considered a folder? How about a Zeiss Nettar with 75mm 4.5 Novar lens. Very compact, moderate aperture makes scale focusing pretty good, nice quality and tonality all for under $100.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Voigtlander Perkeo II--6x6 folder, nice lens, more compact than many 35mm rangefinders.
     
  10. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    but if I MUST pick among those three it would be the leica...probably with the 2.8 elmar just because it is more compact that the summicron. but, if i get to take a leica, the m3 or m4 will go first.
     
  11. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    My current daily user in my winter coat pocket is a surprisingly good Konica Big Mini 302. Lightweight and an excellent lens.

    Otherwise its my superlative Contax T2 or a Rollei 35.
     
  12. MDR

    MDR Member

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    As you've said yourself the IIIC is the most versatile and most expensive camera, you could get a Retina III with interchangeable lenses for less money and it would be just as versatile. Personally I would get an IIIa with a summar or summitar. Another advantage of the Leicas would be that you can use the lenses on your Leica M.
     
  13. phelger

    phelger Subscriber

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    The Rollei is so small that it's difficult to find in my pocket, and it's neither easy nor ergonomic in use. My Retina is quite solid and leigtweight but it no way gives the pleasure to hold as my IIIg does and then it's not easy in use. I'm privileged to afford the Leica IIIg it is such a perfect tool to work with. I am looking for an Elmar 2.8 to replace my Elmar 3.5.
    good luck with you photography, MSBARNES.
    Peter
     
  14. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I have two pocket cameras - 35mm Voigtlander Vito II and 120 Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515. Both produce outstanding images - the only reason they are not my regular shooters is the viewfinders - the Vito II's is uncomfortably small and the Nettar 515's is just a double wire frame.
     
  15. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Consider a camera with controls laid out in a "traditional" manner. XA & Rollei are small but not what you could call traditional layout. IE advance lever and shutter speed dial on top.

    an inexpensive Russian camera would do the trick.
    Canon QL17 Olympus 35RD but the SS is around the lens. Olympus 35RC. The RC has a traditional layout but the aperture ring is tiny.
     
  16. macrorie

    macrorie Member

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    The Rollei 35 is really much more of a pocket camera than a Barnack Leica. On the other hand, the rangefinder sure adds to the versatility of the Leicas, at least for me. A scale focus camera that is thicker than the Rollei but not much larger, and is much less expensive, is a Voigtlander Vito B. The Color Skopar lenses were very good, and unlike the optically more fragile 50s Leica lenses, their coatings and contrast characteristics are often still excellent.
     
  17. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thanks for the many suggestions.

    I'm just going to play around with a few until I find one that fits me right. Some cameras I love instantly and other cameras, not so much. I'm not 100% happy with my Retina but I much prefer it over my other P&S's. I'd rather guess focus and scale focus than have autoexposure and autofocus only.

    Well, I want all-mechanical for a few reasons:
    1. I don't always trust autoexposure and autofocus
    2. I don't want to worry about batteries
    3. Manual everything is always more fun :smile:

    The Contax and Olympus cameras are too automatic for me.
    The Japanse RF's are OK but they aren't as compact s the other three (I don't think...RC,maybe).
    The German folders, I believe, are no more better than the Kodak Retina.
    I've had 120 folders but I was too paranoid with bellow leaks, keeping the film flat, and was not impressed with the IQ (compared to my Rollei). My Retina feels more sturdy and the IQ is very good.

    I'm going with a Rollei 35 next so I will shoot that in good light and my Retina in low-light. I'm more interestted in shooting in good light so I think that the Rollei will do, as long as I'm not into shooting wide apertures and close-up.

    Thinking about it, a Leica IIIc + Collapsible lens JUST for this purpose is still too expensive. That is a camera I wouldn't take to the beach, the bar, and leave in my messenger bag without worrying.
     
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  18. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    I have a Leica IIIa and Summitar. It fits in my pocket. It wasn't too expensive.
     
  19. Spicy

    Spicy Member

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    Might be worth getting a Russian Elmar clone (either Industar 22 or Industar 50) for the M2 or M3. They're cheap and pretty solid performers as long as you get a good copy (that's the tricky part). I picked up my I-22 from Fedka.com for $39 shipped and he hand picked a nice one for me.

    I often shoot it on my IIIc, as well. And I have a Rollei 35S, which is a blast to shoot, but I often really wish it had a rangefinder. I've gotten competent with scale focus, and I enjoy its quirky controls, but don't find it slows me down at all. Don't have any experience with the Kodak, but you'd be hard pressed to pick a bad option from the other two.

    A user-grade-cosmetic-but-freshly-CLA'd Barnack is a fine thing indeed, if you enjoy slowing things down a bit and really focusing on getting back to basics. Youxin installed a Japanese-sourced beamsplitter in mine, and now it has higher contrast than my M body, which he also CLA'd. The only caveat is that, while it's quick and oh-so-easy to focus, having to focus and frame separately is neither quick nor precise. So, if you're looking for a super-fast and convenient street shooter, you'd be hard pressed to beat an XA.

    All else being equal, if I could only choose either the IIIc or the Rollei 35S, I'd go with the Leica, but not as my only camera.

    And not to be a jerk, but in my opinion, if you're looking for pocketability, anything other than a 50mm on a Barnack is kind of missing the point (to whoever said it earlier), due to the limited 50mm VF window. Shooting wide-angle and hyperfocaling is a great way to negate the annoying split VF/RF, but you will need an accessory finder.

    If size, speed and convenience: XA
    If pleasure of fondling: Barnack with collapsible 50 (I had an elmar 2.8 LTM but it was really surorisingly heavy, so I sold it and got the I-22)
    If size and usually color film, with no need for quick shooting/accurate wide-open close-range focus: Rollei 35S/35SE
     
  20. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    thanks for the advice spicy.

    An I-22 is something that I would consider. Many avoid FSU bodies but the glass I hear is an excellent value. Especially those from Fedka. I might test one out. Leica IIIc + I-22 would be pocketable and not too costly.
     
  21. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I have a Minox 35GT I've used as a pocket camera for about twenty five years.