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  1. #1
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    I'm looking for a small rangefinder

    Hello experts,
    I've decided I want a small 35mm rangefinder.
    I've like one that's fully manual that doesn't need to use a battery.
    I'd like one with a fairly good lens, but it doesn't have to be particularly fast or interchangeable.

    I'm really just interested in something that's small, easy to use with no frills, but still of fair quality.

    If anyone knows of any camera that fits this bill, please post here.

    I've got a Yashica electro 35 and a canon 50E with battery grip if anyone is interested in a trade.

    Tom.

  2. #2
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Take a look at Kodak Retinas.

    Grossly simplifying:
    "I" models have no rangefinder
    "II" models have a rangefinder
    "III" models have RF and light meter - light meter (if working, though they seem to survive better than average) is a selenium type and needs no batteries.

    Lens models used range from the good to the sublime...
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  3. #3

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    I think the Olympus 35RC could be what you're looking for:

    http://home.comcast.net/~youngds/Cla...lympus35RC.htm
    Steve.

  4. #4
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    Great.
    My friend actually has Kodak Retina he might sell but I'm not sure of the series.

    The Olympus looks really good.
    It doesn't say if it needs the battery in manual mode. I'm guessing it doesn't.

  5. #5

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    I've used both Kodak Retina II and Canon QL17 G-III. I found Retina to be a little heavy for its size, small viewfinder and quite hard to use, but with great optics and being very very small. Canon on the other hand was much easier to use, had parallax compensation, with an accurate light meter, but was bigger and about the same weight with Retina. Canon needs a battery only for automatic mode (shutter priority actually), while Retina is totally independent. You can use canon in full manual mode without batteries though.

  6. #6

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    One more thing, if you consider Retina III, keep in mind that even if the light meter works, firstly it will not be as accurate as a CdS meter and secondly it may die unexpectedly. I would not rely on it. Retina III is also taller than II, due to the meter. Personally I'm against Retina III...

  7. #7
    mablo's Avatar
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    Retinas are smallish, most have a rangefinder, they don't need batteries and lenses are either good or very good. Retina IIa or IIc (small a and c) are known to be good for example. Frankly said, I don't know any Retina that would not be good. If you like something with a very large and bright viewfinder you might consider Retina IIS or IIIS. They are not foldable however like many earlier models.

  8. #8
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindcircus View Post
    One more thing, if you consider Retina III, keep in mind that even if the light meter works, firstly it will not be as accurate as a CdS meter and secondly it may die unexpectedly. I would not rely on it. Retina III is also taller than II, due to the meter. Personally I'm against Retina III...
    Not true, *if* a selenium meter is working properly, it's actually more linear and less influenced by colour than a CdS meter.
    I've also never seen a Selenium meter "suddenly" die.

    The Retinas have Selenium cellss which seem to be far more durable and lasting than most.
    I have 2 Kodalux meters (made by the same company which made the in-camera Retina meters) which are spot-on.
    Also my old Sekonic Studio Pro can still be used as a reference...

    Selenium meters are basically an "all or nothing deal": either they work and are sensitive enough, or they're dead (or largely so)...
    I've had far more insidious and complicated problems with CdS cells.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomalophicon View Post
    The Olympus looks really good.
    It doesn't say if it needs the battery in manual mode. I'm guessing it doesn't.
    It indeed doesn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rol_Lei Nut View Post
    [...]I've also never seen a Selenium meter "suddenly" die.

    [...]

    Selenium meters are basically an "all or nothing deal": either they work and are sensitive enough, or they're dead (or largely so)...
    Which is exactly why they die suddenly.

  10. #10

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    I know its againt both your "fully manual" and "doesn't need a battery", still I would like to toss in the Olympus XA. I have a Bessa R that would fit your demands and I love it for those reasons, still the XA thrills me as the almost perfect little camera.
    Smallest 35mm rangefinder ever made, very compact clamshell design, a very good 35/2.8 lens.
    It might need a battery, but it surely fits your "small and easy to use" section.

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