yet another 'first rangefinder' question...

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by spinningdoc, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Member

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    I'm sure - I know, I've been browsing the forum - the regulars get these a couple of times a month, and I'vebeen back a few pages to see what the advice is... but none of the other threads quite answers my query. So here it is.

    Having messed about with a Zorki 4a as a kid which my dad bought, pretty much by accident as far as I can tell, I've slid back into photography after purloining a Fuji 6900 digital my wife bought and from there to an Olympus XA2 bought for a song off eBay. I've had fun with both, but the Fuji's too slow, too automated, and cracks through batteries, and the Olympus is great (realising what a good lens is like was similar to listening to a decent stereo for the first time) but I'd like a longer lens.

    I figure I can get a lot better quality film camera for the money than digital, I prefer being more in control, and I don't like being in thrall to expensive electronics.

    What I think I'm after (and correct me if I'm wrong) is a camera to use when the XA2 isn't right - portraiture and any situation when I can't barge into the middle of the action. So I'm thinking of a rangefinder with a longer lens, say in the 70-90 bracket. And cheapish. In an ideal world, with an ideal bank account, I'd go for a Bessa as entry level but life's just not ideal.

    So something Russian seems likely. But what? How much? Where from (I'm in the UK).

    All wisdom, rampant prejudice, and wry comments much appreciated.

    Matt

    PS. I'm not entirely averse to an old-but-good SLR either, a K1000 or OM10 say.
     
  2. RobLewis

    RobLewis Member

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    I don't like people from Texas.
    Oh, not that kind of rampant prejudice...
    I have nothing of value to add to your quest. But good luck anyway.
     
  3. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Generally speaking, the longer the lens, the more attractive an SLR becomes, due to both parallax issues and focusing accuracy with shorter rangefinder bases. Given that, the best choices for longer lenses among the FSU rangefinders would be the FED 2, Kievs, and Zorki 5/6 due to longer base lengths.

    Screw mount SLRs being as cheap as they are now, why not do both?
     
  4. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    If you like long glass, get a Pentax K-1000. Rangefinders are great for wide angle to very short telephoto.
     
  5. Brian Jeffery

    Brian Jeffery Member

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    Hi Matt, you don't say what your budget is. However, you can pick up Canon A series cameras off ebay for a song at the moment. I picked up an AE1-Program for £35 complete with 50mm 1.8 lens. This camera comes complete with Shutter Priority, Program and Manual overide modes. However, most the A series cameras are great in my opinion (particularly the A-1). You can also pick up prime lenses for damn cheap although the 85mm 1.8 is probably one of the more expensive lenses going for arount £80. You'll should get the 100mm cheaper. One drawback with most cameras of this age is that the light seals are liable to need replacing. You might want to pay slightly more for a camera with the seals already replaced.


    Brian
     
  6. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    Yes film cameras are cheap, I bought a Nikon F2 for £100 (I like no batteries)
    But I'd second the Canon A1/AE1 mainly because FD lenses are so cheap, it would be possible to get a 28, 50 and 100 for peanuts.
    I loved the FD100 F2.8 sharp good contrast and worth nothing!
    Here is a picture taken with it in 1991.
    http://www.pbase.com/mark_antony/image/59819421
    regards
    Mark
     
  7. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I would actually advise against the K-1000, for only one reason. It gets recommended so often, especially to students, that almost any other reasonably similar K-mount body will be cheaper, and the ones from Ricoh and Chinon amazingly so. This is not to denigrate the K-1000 in any way, it's just that the market has overvalued a good camera.
     
  8. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Without knowing your budget it's hard to make a recommendation - but I agree that a RF is probably not the best solution.

    The Nikon Nikkormats are going for real cheap on eBay. They are a bit heavy since they were built to last forever.

    You can often find a "package" on eBay that will include a Nikkor 50mm/2.0 lens and a early model Vivitar (or Tamrin etc.) 105mm.

    Anyway, good luck in your renewed photography endeavors - and don't forget to post a thread on the "Intro to APUG" forum!
     
  9. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    Any decent rangefinder should be perfectly up to the 70 or 90mm lenses he mentions though.

    David.
     
  10. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    I started with a Fed-4 which is still my favourite of the three or four rangefinders I've owned. Not everyone's favourite choice but mine focuses really accurately. I have an accessory finder and Jupiter-9 85mm lens for it. Results are good although I have occasionally messed up the framing due to parallax issues with the accessory finder.

    The Jupiter-9 is a little soft and lacking in contrast wide-open but quite good otherwise.

    If you are going with an SLR the choices are endless. I bought a Pentax P50 a while back for under 20 pounds and it's a great camera -- much better than the endlessly recommended K1000 in the sense that is has proper depth of field preview and some exposure automation if you want it with A-series or later lenses. These days it's my main SLR.

    K-mount lenses are still holding their value though so getting good lenses can be pricier than a cheapskate like me would like.

    I also use an EOS 650 with an M42-EOS adapter and various screwmount lenses and which was also amazingly cheap -- I paid about 15 for the camera and another 10 or so for the adapter.

    Film SLRs are just crazily cheap. The lenses tend to be more pricy if they are lenses that can be mounted on a dSLR (with adapter). That's why the Canon FD-mount suggestion above might be useful.
     
  11. Brian Jeffery

    Brian Jeffery Member

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    if you're interested in the results from this lens sign up to the postcard exchange as my card for the latest round was taken using an FD 100mm 2.8 fitted to an A1.


    Brian
     
  12. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    I'd love too but I no longer have the lens (it was an early FD breechlock with chrome ring.
    One thing I liked was how compact it was (compared to the 105 Nikon I now own)
    Great lens!
     
  13. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Member

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    Thanks guys, and apologies for not returning sooner. In practice I think it's going to boil down to what my local camera shop has at the point where I have some spare cash over the next month or so. The guesses on my budget were about right though - £50-£100 ideally though if there'd been a huge consensus on £150 getting me something outstanding I would've stretched to it!
     
  14. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    spinningdoc,

    I'd give some serious thought to getting a camera from the well-known auction site. In my experience prices are hugely lower than from UK camera shops. Obviously you don't get much in the way of redress if something goes wrong, though.

    FWIW, I've never had a camera arrive non-working although I have had a couple with bad light seals (easy to replace) or misaligned rangefinders (also easy to fix).
     
  15. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    I'm with mcgrattan. Ebay something. They are so cheap.. I have had two bad cameras out of about 50 to 60 camera/lens transactions. One was a Zeiss range finder that was sheer junk. He took it back. The other was on some 2 1/4 point and shoots from Great Britain. Guy threw the three camera in a paper/fiber sack and shipped them across the big pond. He eventually refunded my money when I sent him photos of what was left of the cameras.

    My recommendation is either a Zorki 2 or 3 with the aforementioned 85mm lens or, daring as it sounds... a 2 1/4 TLR. Either get a fixed lens Yashica or... A Mamiya C series with a 135 or longer lens. As Borat would say.... Naaahse.

    You should be able to pick one of them up in good shape of the Bay for 100 pounds. You would be amazed what I bought a Mamiya RB67 SLR for with three backs, 90mm lens, handle grip, case, etc... It wasn't more than 150 L , I can tell you that.

    Anyhow,

    tim in san jose
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2007
  16. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Member

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    I've ebayed something. A Canon AE Program with a 75-200mm lens (an Ozeck, which seems obscure so probably not exactly top rank...) for £35. Bargain! And thanks for all your advice.
     
  17. Steve Bellayr

    Steve Bellayr Member

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    The 85mm is the best protrait lens that I have used. Next is the quality of the glass (manufacturer) and then affordability. The lens is not much longer than a 50mm. It works well with one person. The 50mm is better for two people and the 35mm for three. That's a rule of thumb I read somewhere.
     
  18. harveyje

    harveyje Subscriber

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    The Nikkor 105/2.5 is an excellent lens. It is very sharp and useful for portraits and many landscapes. An older nikkormat ftn or Nikon F2 should easily be found to to support it.
     
  19. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    That 105/2.5 is perhaps the best lens I have ever used. I only have 2 lens for my FM2. The 105 and a 35/2.5. In 16 years, haven't felt the need for anything else. (Of course, there are thirty five other cameras in multitudes of formats that take up the slack) But, when I know I need the shot, the Nikon is still the one.

    tim in san jose