Another vote for the QL-17 as well as for checking your local thrift store. I've probably found a dozen or so decent Japanese fixed lens rangefinders at thrifts over the years. I'd avoid the Leica screw mount bodies as well, the finders on them are tiny and for the price you could probably find a more user friendly and reliable Bessa.
If you've never shot a rangefinder I'd suggest starting as cheaply as possible just to see if you like it. It's a different shooting experience than an SLR or TLR and you may not find it suits you.
May I commend you on your choice of wanting a rangefinder camera? For me, the most outstanding feature of a rangefinder is the fact that the frame lines allow you to see to left and right, above and below the scene you are about to capture. If you use an SLR you may as well look through the centre of a toilet roll. How about a simple Voigtlander?
Originally Posted by ardeepapa
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
This doesn't really belong here, but I love the gallery on your website. Truly excellent photography.
Originally Posted by cliveh
And the sign said, "long haired freaky people need not apply"
For myself, I like and use a Canon P (3) and a Bessa R There are four others and a number of lenses. I could go on but really why .Buy the camera that "fits" you. I love the Bessa R but the Canon P just "fits" me. Try to borrow a user or two then choose. I remember a old slogan I think fits." Cry Once! " You always be happy with the best , but then what is best for you?
I recommend these two rangefinders:
Canon QL17 Giii 35mm rangefinder with 40mm lens
Minolta Hi-Matic 9 35mm rangefinder with 45mm lens
Neither needs batteries for operation. Batteries are only needed for the built-in light meter.
Both are small, quiet, unobtrusive, capable of producing high-quality images, and inexpensive.
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The Reasons to Consider the Unique Qualities of the Olympus XA & A16 flash.
Here's why you want to get this camera, especially if you like to shoot people.
Originally Posted by L Gebhardt
The following is copied by me from another post.
" Do you want to know a secret ?" " Do you promise not to tell ?"
I'm sorry I couldn't resist.
This trick works best if you are using the A16 flash, but it would work on the A11, also.
We know that once the flash is " popped-up ", that it will fire, no matter,where the f-stop scale is set.
We also, know that since the camera uses a leaf shutter, it will synch
at any shutter speed. We finally know,that while the cameras f-stops are adjustable in
1/3rds of a stop,the flash only has ISO 100 & ISO 400 settings.
Finally, if you set the f-stop to f 5.6, ( indicated in orange ) & the orange - red distance # on the focus dial,
( the actual # is different, if your camera is meters, or feet ). Then where ever you point the camera, the
image will be sharp, because the camera is set to hyperfocal focus & the rangefinder, does not have to be used.
Because of the nature of the Olympus XA, ALL flash exposures are taken at f 3.5 - 4.0
You can determine this for yourself, by setting the aperture at f 4.0 & looking at it.
Then set the aperture to flash & take a look at it. They look almost the same.
These days I shoot neg film & get it scanned. It's cheaper than scanning chromes.
I overexpose ALL neg film by 1 stop, under ALL circumstances. This guarantees a
Now here is the secret I promised you. There is only 1 stop difference between f 4.0 &
1. If I were to shoot ISO 200, ( rated ), film, like Portra, or NPS, or NPC, I would
set the camera at ISO 100.
2. Set the flash to ISO 100. " Pop-up " the flash.
3. Set the f-stop to f 5.6 & set the focusing ring to the orange - red focusing distance.
The camera is now set for a perfect 1 - 12 stops flash fill, which can be used at ALL
shutter speeds. Also, because the camera is set for a depth of field focus, ( that's what this is ),
all of your images will be sharp, without rangefinder focusing.
Thus the camera works like a point & shoot.
This can be refined for other ISO's or if you want less flash, set the camera ISO, to 80.
Don't forget the Kodak Retina I/II/III. Look for a IIb or IIIc. They came with a range of lenses, but the most common ones are the Schneider Xenar f2 or f2.8. Look for one with the f2 lens. The b and c models have coupled rangefinders, and the IIIc has a built-in meter (although at this point in time it is 90%+ likely to be non-functional). I've got a IIb with the f2 lens and it takes wonderful pictures. It's small enough to fit in a coat pocket, but substantial enough to withstand bumps and dings of everyday carrying around. And the lens is self-casing when you close it up.
How bout the american leica, the Argus C-44? These can be had for $100.00 and under. They had 3 lenses, 35mm, 50mm, and a telephoto 100mm. The only limiting factor was the slow 1/300th shutter but had M & X sync. Not a bad rangefinder, Steven.
Agfa Sillete are nice cameras.
I dunno, if your budget is around $100, get a Minolta Hi-Matic (I got mine from the bay for $20) and spend the rest on film, development chemicals, tanks, binder for your negatives and anything else you might desire. The Rokkor lens is quite good and it can work without a battery.