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  1. #1

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    Rangefinder and 50mm Lens Recommendation

    This topic is kind of like beating a dead horse, but for the sake of getting my hit in and not stealing other members posts (or their own hits).......

    Coming from a DSLR, I've been using a Minolta X-700 with 50mm lens exclusively for about eight months now. In that time I have started processing my own film (HP5+, DD-X), and selling off my very seldom used digital gear piece by piece. Once I get rid of the DSLR body that will do it.

    I have been using the X-700 in manual mode, and have replaced the batteries twice. I replace them even though I don't reference the meter as the shutter requires it. Learning to expose based on the the sunny-16 rule, manually focusing, and processing my film has been a sort of liberation for me. I get much more satisfaction out of my photography by this process, and wish to continue with it long-term - mostly street and documentary related.

    So, I'd now like to look for a rangefinder to have something quieter, a camera that allows me to actually see the moment of exposure, slightly smaller than the X-700, and not requiring any sort of battery - totally mechanical, which would be handy for my occasional backpacking outings. I like the field of view with the 50mm lens, and would like to stick with it. My budget is rather limited, but I think I could swing $500-ish give or take a small bit. I need something that will be a good shooter, reliable, and not just a display piece.

    I've been looking at the newer model QL-17, the QL-17 GIII, and a couple of others. I think these are battery dependent though, and most don't have the 50mm lens. Ideally I'd have the funds for a Leica M3 and 50mm, but I'm short on that by a ways. I thought about a Mamiya C220 or Rolleiflex TLR for medium format work, but I feel I should probably take care of the rangefinder issue first.

    Any recommendations or thoughts?

    EDIT: I wear eyeglasses, so a good viewfinder is even more important. I tried an old Canon RF the other day, and had troubles seeing the entire frame.

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Welcome to the rangefinder world of precise framing, clockwork mechanisms (batteries not required) and simplicity of use (50mm lens only). Stick with it, you will not be dissapointed. May I suggest the M2?

    “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”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3
    zsas's Avatar
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    An M2 wd be great but I have never see a M2 and lens for $500 and less so then what are you left with?

    Well I think, correct me of I am wrong, but Katie and I forget his name got a Bessa R4M (m=manual) for $500'ish with lens?
    Last edited by zsas; 06-06-2012 at 03:23 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Add model #
    Andy

  4. #4
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Guy View Post
    QL-17 GIII... I think these are battery dependent though... doesn't have the 50mm lens.
    Battery only required for Automatic aperture. Twist the aperture dial off A and you are full mechanical manual.

    Granted, you get a 40mm f/1.7 Canon lens. 40 is an ideal backpacking lens to me. When I bring a 40, I can leave home the 35 and 50.

  5. #5
    zsas's Avatar
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    There is always the Yashica Lynx 14 and 14E, often called a Yashicalux. They have a massive f1.4 lens, quite a fun camera, I use one and love it. $100'ish on the bay....

    But the lens is 45mm if that 5mm is a deal breaker then forget the Lynx

    It has a built in meter, but if you don't put the battery in the camera it will still work just fine as the Lynx 14(E) is all manual if you want to be
    Last edited by zsas; 06-06-2012 at 03:18 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Add more
    Andy

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    Battery only required for Automatic aperture. Twist the aperture dial off A and you are full mechanical manual.

    Granted, you get a 40mm f/1.7 Canon lens. 40 is an ideal backpacking lens to me. When I bring a 40, I can leave home the 35 and 50.
    So I could use this camera without a battery - albeit full manual mode?

  7. #7
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Guy View Post
    So I could use this camera without a battery - albeit full manual mode?
    Exactly

  8. #8

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    I didn't realize that. Going into the back-country, and relying on batteries, is not something I like to do - even though that's limited to 3-4 times per year. For street work (most of my shooting) it would be ok although I would prefer not to need batteries.

    There is a newer model QL17 for sale around here. Not the GIII, but I think it may suffice. $60. Would I be better off spending a few hundred more for a different camera/lens combo, staying in the $500 or less range, or does that not get me much more than what the $60 in this case will?

  9. #9
    ColdEye's Avatar
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    That $60 Canonet will serve you well, I don't think you will be disappointed with the handling and the quality of the lens. For the left over money just buy some film/paper/chems or an enlarger if you dont have one yet.

  10. #10
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    I can't remember what the refinement of the GIII offered, think it was very minor.

    It would be good to get one for $60, try it out as-is and see how it feels. Keep $140 in your budget for CLA. Chances are the foam seals need replacement.

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