Cheap entry into rangefinders?
I have never used a rangefinder camera but find myslef becoming more and more interested in them.
Can anyone advise on what might be the most economical way to test the water with this type of camera? Which makes and models will give a good introduction without large cost?
Many thanks for any advice,
You could start with a cheap all manual Russian, like a Zorki or a FED, with changeable lenses. There are also the fixed lens Canon range of Canonets particularly the QL17 GIII. Any of those can be had for less than £50. There are also old German Voigtlanders (not Cosina), like the Vito CLR, an extremely good camera, and very cheap.
Last edited by Andy K; 11-14-2007 at 06:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Yashica are a brand that I have been collecting for years. Whereas many people tend to recommend the Electo range GT, GTN, GS,GSN etc. I would suggest that you tried something that wasn't dependant on batteries.
My own choices would be The Lynx 1000; Lynx 500; Lynx 14; Minister III; Minister D, or Minister II. Many of these don't even require a battery for the meter. The trouble with the battery models is that they frequently require a full CLR before you can use them, whereas the batteryless models usually work as soon as they arrive at your door.
They are also amazingly cheap, frequently selling for between 10-20 Pounds stirling on Ebay, or even less. Why don't you try half a dozen, you won't be disappointed, the Yashinon lenses are excellent.
Finally, if you do decide that you would rather a battery model, or if you buy a model where the meter requires a battery (I usually tend to use an old Euromaster hand held meter - consequently the 'onboard' meter doesn't bother me) you may require a battery adaptor which can be bought for about 12 Pound Stirling on Ebay, or go to www.yashica-guy.com/ where you can buy them equally as cheaply directly from his webpage.
P.S. I am not Yashica-Guy, neither do I know, or have any business with him.
If you would look at a larger format the Voigtlander RF could be a decent choice producing a 6X9 image on 120 film. Should be able to get one for somewhere around $100 to $150 (perhaps less) and if you didn't like it, recover your investment when you resold it. Bill Barber
The Kodak Retina II's and III's are also good candidates. Nice f/2 Schneider or Rodenstock lenses, nearly as small folded as a modern digi. One major downside is that they have a bit of a following, and can be pricey, compared to the Voigtlanders of the era which some people judge as just as good.
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Contax G1 or G2 prefferably, great lenses, for about £100/150 with 45mm lens.
I have a Kiev 4 which has been enjoyable to use. They can be found for quite cheap on ebay.
I have a Zorki 1D, which while being a beautiful camera which I love I wouldn't recommend as a first go (even though it was mine) - the viewfinder is incredibly small, and it has the annoyance of having to cut the film leader to shape for bottom loading.
I was in a wonderful camera shop in Budapest at the weekend though, and took the opportunity to introduce my digital P&S carrying friend to the wonders of film by convincing him to buy a Fed-2 (actually, I think he fell in love with it at first sight anyway, so not much convincing needed.) It's a beautiful camera in its own right, but has a much nicer viewfinder/rangefinder, loads from the back (so you don't need to cut down film,) and even has niceties like a self timer. Best of all, it cost about 3000 forints - ~ 11 euro :-). I imagine you can probably get one for the same price or less on eBay.
I was going to buy a Kiev from there, but unfortunately it had a sticky shutter - but a working Kiev looks a nice buy as well.
Another day goes under; a little bourbon will take the strain...
If you can get a G2 for a good price then go for it.
Originally Posted by John Roberts
One of my first rangefinders was an Olympus SP. Has a fixed 40mm lens. Cheap, compact & high quality images. Be aware however that the meter battery is one of the old mercury ones & difficult & expensive to obtain these days. If you want to use the camera meter I would look for a camera that takes easy to get batteries. Anyway I used the SP for awhile, realised that style of shooting suited me & ended up with an M6.
The Contax G1 or G2 are not rangefinders.