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  1. #11
    charlief64's Avatar
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    Don't overlook the Petri 7s. Built in meter, no batteries decent lens. It's my under the seat, always in the car camera. Never fails me.

  2. #12
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    The first roll of film I shot with my QL17, I *knew* it had to be horrible. How can you get good images from a camera that doesn't sound like a construction site when you trigger it? Also, I wasn't at all familiar with the range focus and figured that would be a disaster too.

    Surprise, surprise. While my shots were all random pics of the parking lot surrounding the CVS (I know.. I know... but I had 'em send this roll in) and unexciting, they came out nice and sharp. I had a Mal Reynolds "Hrhn!" moment, and decided that this little camera was probably well worth getting used to. Besides, I just had Mark Hama do a CLA for me, so there's that too.

  3. #13

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    Consider an option with full metered manual mode. I have a Yashica GSN, and I like it, but it encourages me to be lazy and do no more thinking about exposure than bracket whatever the camera 'thinks' best. (no shutter speed indicator) This is not a criticisim, it's original market was not for creative photographers, it was for (people like) my grandfather who shot thousands of holiday slides with one in the 60's and 70's. (which, incidentaly, says something about it's metering ability!)
    Conversly, my (equaly cheap) '80's SLR with fully metered manual mode encourages me to think about lighting on my subject & gives me greater confidence in regard of subject motion, even if I'm using AE mode (there's that laziness again!). But, I dislike the SLR viewfinder and only mention it as an example of fully metered manual.

    Good luck with your purchase, and don't forget that older your preferred option is, the more likley it is to need a service.

    Matt.

  4. #14

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    As always with threads like these, everyone will simply suggest what they own. Let me add my own experiences:
    A Minolta 7s can be had for less than 50$. It's a solid rangefinder with a sharp f1.8 lens and permits fully manual operation (vital if you want to know your stuff). The rangefinder is much brighter than the Petri 7s, take that into account if you have a choice. In my opinion, the 7s is vastly underrated. Most people look down on it because they want the slightly better and much smaller 7sII, but don't let that misguide you. It's an excellent performer.
    And the sign said, "long haired freaky people need not apply"

  5. #15

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    I have a Voightlander Vitomatic. It's a very nice compact rangefinder with a bright finder. If I remember rightly, it has a fixed 50mm lens. I had Gus at OC camera overhaul it last year, and it works very well. (I got it fixed up so that my daughter could use it on a trip.) Unfortunately, I don't really use 35mm film any more, and so it's sat on the shelf most of the time.

  6. #16

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    I have a Canonet G-III QL17 I am going to post for sale soon. CLA'd a few years ago, very good condition. Comes with cap, copy of instruction booklet, _and_shade. $75 shipped.

    The catch- it will need a new battery.

    PM me drectly if interested.

    Keith Ostertag
    Keith Ostertag
    keitho at strucktower dot com

  7. #17

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    Hit the local thrift shops and find the $5 camera bin. I'm finding many decent entry level 35mm non-slrs in them and most are being passed over even at that price. You do not mention what photo intrest you have such as portraitures, street, etc. so really hard to make a recommendation as to a particular model. Different features can aid or detract from the experience depending on what you are shooting. For instance a wider angle lens with a smaller aperature having greater depth of field may be advantageous and faster than a rangefinder longer focal length; or even for street shooting. Zone or scale focusing is easy to use for landscapes and street work. A rangefinder is better for portraiture and still life.

    If using a built in meter and possibly filters, better to find a camera with a through the lens meter or a meter cell that is close to the lens so the filter covers it and hence metering is through the filter. If filters are not an issue, the cell can be outside of the lens area which is common with many non-slr cameras.

    While we tend to class cameras into slr and rangefinder, the better term is slr and non-slr as the non-slr has categories that include both rangefinder and non-rangefinder formats. The slr generally has an eyelevel viewfinder viewing the image through the lens but has a limitation of not generally as bright as a non-slr camera viewfinder but, closer to what you see is what you get. Also, depth of field can b viewed where with a non-slr DoF is not viewable hence reliance on the DoF scle on the lens and a knowledge of DoF visualization is a plus in composing.

    A smaller local camera shop may take pity on you as a stuggling student and donate something to you as many are still taking trades of these but just dumping them. A a beginner do not get wrapped up in the brand names as much as the features that will help in making good shots and aid in training your eye and mind. Look for a focal length that feels good and seems to match your mental image of what you want. There is no standard except in marketing. While many talk of 50mm lenses as standard, you'll find many who after some time tend to go somewhat smaller, down to the 28-40mm range. I personally prefer the 35-40mm range. Top speed is also not all that critical except in certain situations. A leaf shutter with a top speed of 1/500 is more than usable in most situations.

    2 of my favorite shooters have a 40mm lens, 1 is a rangefinder and the other a zone focus model, both have a max speed of 1/500, one has no coating and the other I think is single coated, both leaf shutters and both from just after WWII. Both have a lens design that I do not about nor care about technically and the results from each are limited by my ability. I enjoy shooting both as much as my Leica and Bronica systems and could live with either as my only camera. From memory I think I paid $20 for 1 and about the same for the other. 1 is user grade, having been heavily used by the original owner a military man who traveled around the world several times while the other was owned by someone whose widow said he used it as his only camera from new but babied it. Currently both need a shutter cla which is not expensive as they are leaf shutter cameras and will be good for another 50 years or so when done.

    a camera is like buying a car or a computer; there is no pat answer.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by waltereegho View Post
    As always with threads like these, everyone will simply suggest what they own. Let me add my own experiences:
    A Minolta 7s can be had for less than 50$. It's a solid rangefinder with a sharp f1.8 lens and permits fully manual operation (vital if you want to know your stuff). The rangefinder is much brighter than the Petri 7s, take that into account if you have a choice. In my opinion, the 7s is vastly underrated. Most people look down on it because they want the slightly better and much smaller 7sII, but don't let that misguide you. It's an excellent performer.

    Another vote for the Minolta Hi-Matic 7s. I have two of them now. Had a photo contest at work (1000's of employees).
    I took first, second, and third prize. Only the first was taken with my Nikon F2AS, second and third were taken with the Minolta.
    Best regards,
    /Clay

  9. #19

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    I had a similar problem not too long ago. I wanted a small rangefinder to take along on bike rides, instead of my big Nikons. Didn't want to spend a lot of money. I could have found a used Leica body or maybe a Bessa I could have afforded, but then I'd never be able to afford more than one lens for it. So I figured, why not save myself a lot of money and buy a fixed-lens camera? So I got a nice old Konica III for about $100 and have been very pleased with it. Solid build and excellent lens.

  10. #20
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    Olympus XA is another great option in a fixed lens range finder. The XA2 is also good, but not a range finder.

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