Newbie: need cheap RF then more expensive one!
I don't yet own an RF but I have been looking at the Yashica 35 Electro GSN. Here in India there are loads and it seems like a good place to start, though I return to the UK for the summer and obviously have access to ebay too.
I'm a Canon 5Dii owner and shoot street but I'm keen to play with film once more and wanted a cheap introduction to film street photography. I shoot AP/Av and might even entertain using a flash. I've yet to master zone-focusing but would like to perfect that with my RF. My first question, then, is:
1) Assuming I find a good copy, is the Yashica 35 GSN a good, cheap RF to start with? My budget is £50 tops.
If I take to RF, which of course I will:
2) What should I then look to buy, this time with a budget of around £150?
With this second question in mind I have been looking at the following models and would appreciate any thoughts and comments on them, and then alternatives I may have missed out. Roughly in an order of preference:
Yashica 35 CC
Canon G-III 17
The RF I go for has to be small. In India I stick out like a sore thumb at the best of times. Add to that a whacking great big SLR and I have little chance of candid stuff. This is one reason for looking at an RF. Another reason is that I want to look cool
Any help and comments appreciated.
[Edit] I should add that I am off to a second-hand camera store on Friday morning. Apparently the owner has quite a few RFs but I don't know what they are yet. Should be interesting to see what he has but I just want to bone up on my knowledge before seeing him.
I love the Yashica GSN. It is a great little camera with a great lens. The Olympus XA is a decent choice also, and is very portable. I see no real reason to have to "upgrade" from the Yashica if you decide you like using a rangefinder, but, that would be up to you. Maybe, a model with an interchangable lens would be a nice choice if you decide to replace the GSN.
Forget the Yashica and go straight for a Kodak retina iic or iiic.Folds to go in your pocket and inaudible shutter release sound.The iic has no meter,which is not a drawback for me,the iiic has a selenium meter,which usually doesn't work.Both have top quality lenses.I focus using hyperfocal distance all the time with mine.The only warning I would give is not to buy one from ebay in which the owner cannot guarantee the correct functioning of the camera.You can get a iic in the U.S. for less than $100 in good working order.You're going to have about 100 recommendations before the week is out!Good luck.
The Yashica seems a fine camera. I have the Oly 35RD, it is fine for street too, and when I bought mine it was well within your budget (I think I paid US$ 35 for mine). Might be harder to find though. I think you'd be happy with a good working version of the Yashica 35 GSN.
Whichever rangefinder you find, you'll probably want to invest in a CLA at a good camera shop.
The Yashica is a great choice. I think they go for about $50 in good working condition in the USA. Another one to consider, if available, would be the Minolta 7s. I think the Minolta will work without a battery, of course, no metering then.
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Another Yashica to look for is any of the Lynx models. I have a 5000e, which has a similar lens to the GSN but is totally mechanical (battery only powers meter).
“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.”
― Henri Cartier-Bresson
The Lynx is a cannon though, not very compact (I have 3 of 'em). Great color rendition on that lens though.
The Konica S3 has beyond-lovely glass but is not particularly well built and overpriced IMO. I can second the Olympus XA-- get one that's been gone over it should last a long while and takes great shots, in addition to being tiny and pocketable. Good sleeper is the Vivitar 35EE (also available in Europe as the Revue 400something, I forget which)-- tack sharp lens, and very under-appreciated. I bought a mint in box one for cheap to sell but I ended up keeping it. Tons of good and good-enough stuff out there, don't need to break the bank.
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If you have access to a decent local camera repair technician, I would suggest asking them.
I like the Canon G-III 17.
“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
The Yashica Electro 35 GSN doesn't have the same battery issues as the Canonet GL 17 -- the Yashica takes a commonly available battery with a cheap adapter. Look for seal deterioration on both of these, but it's an easy fix.
I got my Minolta Hi-Matic 9 for >$20 and the Rokkor lens is quite outstanding. Many 35mm negatives can print quite large and it has solid contrast.
For spending more? I'd go for the Canon...