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  1. #21

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    Do you need a rangefinder on the camera, or would a scale focusing camera do?

    If a scale focusing camera will do then consider a Rollei 35. They don't need a battery (if you decide you don't need the built in exposure meter) and if you get one with a Tessar, Xenar, or Sonnar lens then the lenses are very good. Of these, the Sonnar is considered best. The ones with the triplet lens (Triotar if I remember correctly) are not as good.

    I have a Rollei 35TE that used to belong to my father in law and it is one of my favorite cameras.

    By the way, if you are interested in a scale focusing camera and you want some kind of focusing aid, it is possible to build an external uncoupled rangefinder with just a pen and paper. I have an upscale version I made using a pen and an old plastic hotel key card. It gives surprisingly accurate results.

  2. #22

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    There are two routes: European (primarily -- but not limited to -- German) or Japanese.

    1. Japanese -- The smaller 1970s models tend to be mostly trap-needle autoexposure. There are a couple of models with manual exposure, the Olympus 35 RC being one of them. The Yashica Electros were available at this time, but they're much larger cameras. The Petri 35 is an earlier camera, somewhere in size between the Olympus at the Electro and a very nice camera. It's usually marked Petri 35 Color Corrected, not to be confused with a later camera sold under the same name, I believe.

    2. German -- Mostly from the 1950s but also into the 1960s, there are a decent number of offerings from Zeiss Ikon, Voigtlander and Agfa, as well as Balda, Kodak AG (Retina models) and also Welti, although I'm not up to snuff on Welti.

    • Zeiss Ikon: Folding Contina II and folding and rigid-front Contessas, including the final Contessa S 312, which is an aperture-priority model. Its sister model is the Voigtlander VF 101.
    • Voigtlander: Vito III with the excellent f/2.0 Ultron; a number of other Vito models, including the CLR, Vitomatic IIb, etc. I like the Vitomatic IIb. Great camera -- small and somewhat heavy for its size.
    • Agfa: The folding Super Solinette (and the Ansco sibling Super Regent), as well as the nonfolding Super Silettes.
    • Balda: Super Baldina, Super Baltinette III and others.
    • Kodak AG: Retina II (several models), Retina IIa (two models), Retina IIc/C, Retina IIIc/C and Retina IIS and IIIS. The Retina "c/C" and "S" models are larger cameras with the IIIS probably being too large for what you want.

  3. #23

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    I second the Rollei 35 and would suggest the Ricoh 500GX

  4. #24

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    Into the third page & Canon Gll 1.7 hasn't been mentioned.
    Fully usable in manual w/o battery, decent RF, compact, excellent lens.
    Key word: compact.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  5. #25

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    I have to agree on the Canonet. I started with it and have been exploring other rangefinders other compact, fixed lens rangefinder for the last six months... it is still my favorite, bar none. The Olympus DC makes me think the Olympus RD has a bunch of promise but I haven't had a chance to use one yet.

  6. #26
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Selenium light meters

    Quote Originally Posted by mindcircus View Post
    I've never used one, but that's what I've read and been told. Sorry about the misinformation.

    I don't understand though what problems can be caused by CdS cells. The only problem I have faced is the discontinued mercury batteries.
    CdS meters are (usually) more sensitive. Selenium meters are usually very limited in their sensitiviy (unless they are very large), maybe that's what you read about.

    Selenium meters can be extremely simple: in many cases simply the cell connected to the galvanometer (at least electrically).

    CdS meter circuits are often more complicated, especially because of the presence of the battery, whose compartment is already a very (or the most) frequent source of trouble. CdS meters typically use more adjustment pots (a battery test circuit usually also being involved), resistances, variable resistors (when coupled to speeds and diaphrams), mechanical links for the variable resistors, etc. Like Selenium cells, CdS cells also tend to "die" with age, though not as frequently.
    When a CdS meter has problems, sometimes even finding the exact cause of the problem can be quite difficult.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  7. #27
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcgrattan View Post
    Having owned both an Olympus XA and a Retina IIc, for me there'd be no contest. The Retina takes _much_ better pictures. In fact, I didn't really like the rendering of the XA lens at all.

    The Retina is heavier, but, for me has better ergonomics, also. I think the only downside to the Retina is that the viewfinder is a little pokey and dim.
    I also agree, having also used the XA and several Retinas, I don't find the XA lens that impressive.

    Being the Devil's advocate, yes, the defects of the classical Retinas are the viewfinders and (in some models) the frame counters, which can be real §%&#°rs to reset.

    The IIa (be careful, like many Retinas, the model name covers both pre-war and post war ones, the pre-war having non-coated lenses), is a very good and nice-looking camera, though with some mechanical vulnerabilities (the notorious cocking rack problem).

    If a non-folding model is o.k., the IIS might be a great one to aim for.

    As someone else mentioned, the various classical Voigtländers are also very, very good!
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  8. #28

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    It is predictable that you would get lots of conflicting advice on this question. I have owned a Ricoh 500G, Canonet GIII QL 1.7, a Voigtlander Vitomatic 1, 3 different Voigtlander Vito B models, a Voigtlander Vito II, a Petri 519, and a Kodak Signet 50. You will probably end up buying one of the recommended cameras, and if you don't like it you will get something else. One piece of real advice, get one with a rangefinder, not a scale-focus camera, unless you are confident about estimating distances. From my experience, the Canonet GIII or one of the Voigtlander Vitomatics with a functioning rangefinder and meter (IIa or IIb?) would be the most versatile (the latter have huge, bright viewfinders, which is what makes them heavier for their size).

  9. #29
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    Wow...

    I don't think my friend's Retina is a folder. I'm not sure of the model designation, but are these worthwhile?

    I'm more and more keen on the Voigtlanders now as well.

    No autoexposure models please, I'm not interested as I already have an Electro 35 and Minolta Hi-Matic.

    I would like fully manual and a light meter isn't necessary, although a good one might be nice.

  10. #30
    MattKing's Avatar
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    If you are considering a Retina, you need to be aware that there are/were also cameras called Retinette as well. They don't have a rangefinder, but are quite nice.

    If you would like to see a picture of one, just squint at my avatar .
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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