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  1. #1
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Suggestions for new rangefinder

    Hello,

    I have had great fun, and good success, with my Canonet. I like the fact that it is quiet and the optics seem to be very good. It is a big bonus that it is fairly cheap so if it gets lost or stolen, I will miss the film probably more than the camera.

    I kept it loaded with Tmax3200 for the hospital stay with my first baby. It worked very well--people don't seem to take notice of it. I attribute this to (1) it is very quiet, (2) I didn't need a flash and (3) no one takes it seriously, so they act more natural.

    The downsides I have are: (1) the focus is a bit clumsy for me with that little tab and (2) I don't have a lot of confidence in my ability to focus, so I keep the lens stopped down more than I probably need to and (3) the highest ASA for the meter is only 800.

    I looked at the new Bessa's (at least the reports of them online). They don't seem to be quiet. Leica's I fear are out of my price range.

    1) Olympus rangefinder (RC?)
    2) leica clone?

    Non-rangfinders:
    1) Hexar (with the stealth mode)
    2) Nikon t35

    any comments on these or other suggestions?

    Thanks a lot,

    Matt

  2. #2
    mikeg's Avatar
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    Hi Matt,

    I've got several rangefinders, sadly no Leica yet.

    I do have a Voigtlander Bessa R2 which I love. But, as you mention it's not quiet which is probably it's worst point, however it's not as loud as your average SLR. Also, it sounds louder as it's only a few centimetres from your ears! Apparently, the newer Bessa R2a & R3a are noticeably quieter.

    The Voigtlander lenses are generally superb, especially for their price, (the only lens which some people don't like is the 50mm f2.5).

    I expect that some of your problems focussing the Canonet may be due to the fact that the viewfinder and rangefinder patch need a bit of a clean -- a common problem with these 1970s cameras.

    The focussing on the Bessas is very easy as the viewfinder/rangefinder is very bright.

    If you're starting to dream of a Leica, what about a second hand one? Still more expensive than a Voigtlander but an M4-P with a CLA may be a good choice for you?

    By the way the Hexar is a rangefinder, it was discontinued Oct 2003.

    I assume that you've found Stephen Gandy's Cameraquest site? If not try www.cameraquest.com for loads of rangefinder stuff. It's also the best place to buy Voigtlanders from in the US.

    Hope that helps!

    Mike

  3. #3
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeg
    Hi Matt,

    I do have a Voigtlander Bessa R2 which I love. But, as you mention it's not quiet which is probably it's worst point, however it's not as loud as your average SLR. Also, it sounds louder as it's only a few centimetres from your ears! Apparently, the newer Bessa R2a & R3a are noticeably quieter.

    Mike
    I finally had an empty R2 (not an A, the older mechanical shutter) and R3A with the newer electronic shutter in the same room at the same time. I checked, and from about 6 inches away, the R3A is from 1.5 to 2 dB quieter depending on whether I use the A or C weightings on the meter. The R3A does have a slightly different sound, a bit lower in pitch. Most folks can barely discern a 1 dB difference in sound level, so yes, it's a noticeable difference, but not dramatic. The lower pitch may make the R3A a bit less distracting. I still love using both cameras because there's so little between the photographer and a good, fast shot.

    My son's Minolta XG1 came in about 7dB louder than the R3A, which makes it about 6 times as loud. My R2 is also _much_ quieter than the fake shutter noise I've heard on some digital p&s cameras.

    I'd expect all of these to be louder than your Canonet leaf shutter, as will a Leica rangefinder. I don't have a Leica rangefinder to compare to.

    I agree with Mike on all the other points about the Bessa rangefinders. BTW, the Bessa L, T, R, and R2 have mechanical shutters and will shoot without batteries. The R2A and R3A have electronic shutters, so no batteries, no photos. Plus, if you get a Leica M mount body (on a Leica, Bessa T, R2, R2A or R3A, and some others), you have literally dozens of of models of used lenses made since about 1932 to try out, some of them very reasonably priced, and many excellent performers.

    Sounds like you'll have little kids around for a while. I'd recommend the trigger winder for the Bessas for that. Gets you right to the next frame quickly with the camera still at your eye, no batteries or loud motor noises, and makes for a somewhat steadier grip with a little more bulk. It can help get more candid kid shots once they're up and moving, or changing expressions rapidly.

    Lee
    Last edited by Lee L; 01-17-2005 at 09:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    If you don't mind medium format I would recomend a Mamiya 6 or 7. I have a 7 and it is a great camera. It's quite, takes amazingly sharp photos, has a good meter, gives you a 6x7 negative, and with exposure compensation you can set the meter to 3200 (1600 - 1 stop exp comp).

  5. #5
    Loose Gravel's Avatar
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    The Mamiya 7 is wonderful, but the lenses are not fast. I have the Hexar AF and it is nice to use, quiet (sometimes I can't tell that I've taken a picture), and has a great 35mm/2 lens. I don't always remember that it is auto focus and sometimes I miss the subject focus a tad, but I like these cameras. For a rangefinder that is faster to use and has interchangeable lenses, I like the Contax G2 and it is more convenient, cheaper, and as sharp or sharper than a Leica, albeit not as quiet (for that the Hexar). The Contax is AF, too, and not a true rangefinder, although there is the Hexar RF (recently discontinued). I have an M3, but without a meter, it is not that fast and I think that fast is what 35mm is all about. If I've got lots of time for the shot, I use the Mamiya 7 or the Deardorff.

    Try them all.
    Watch for Loose Gravel

  6. #6
    jd callow's Avatar
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    I have the mamiya 6 and shoot the 50mm @ f/8 in most instances. It is plenty fast enough outside, but in doors is another story. If they made the lenses a stop faster that would be great, but the size of the lenses would become an issue as would DOF.

    *

  7. #7
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    I am amazed at how fast the responses are coming in. Thanks a lot!

    The Bessa's do sound like a good option. I wish I try one and see how they respond.

    I must say that I have lusted after the Contax and the Mamiyas.

    This does bring up a question (that must be covered already somewhere)--what is the advantage of the G2 over the G1? The used G2's are about 2x the price of the G1's.

    As to the Mamiya, I see that the 7 lenses are much more expensive than those for the 6. I don't think I can come up with the money for either, but if I did, I would probably be limited to the 6. The draw of the bigger negative is always a big draw for me. My only MF gear now is a baby speed graphic (with some very nice glass) and a Mockba 4. A real MF camera would be great.

    Again, thanks for the responses so far,

    Matt

  8. #8
    Neil Souch's Avatar
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    Matt,
    The Bessa Voigtlanders are also light and portablle. I use an R2 and two Ts plus a few of the new Bessa lenses - 15mm to 90mm and find them all excellent and good value.
    Cheers, Neil.

  9. #9
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    I have the Mamiya 7, and love it, but it has its limitations expecially with kids. Inevitably, I have to pick my three year old up, and I'm always bonking him on the head with the lens! Also, with only ten frames, you have to change film a lot, and it's a cumbersome process. I still love the results I get with it, but it's not quite as fluid to use as a 35mm rangefinder. I have an older Leica without a meter, and I don't find speed an issue. I just take a meter reading with a hend held meter, and unless the light changes, I can just shoot away! I almost bought the Bessa, but found a reasonably good deal on the Leica, and went for it. Whichever rangefinder you settle on, you'll love how they work, especially photographing your kids! Good luck!

  10. #10

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    Don't dismiss the Bessa to quickly. Yes they are louder then a leica, but much quiter then an slr. The big advantage is the glass is very good, as good as any nikon 35mm glass I have owned, and the cameras will mount leica glass. The viewfinder is also very good. The cost of a bessa with lens (even the newest models) is about 1/4 of the cost of a Lieca body alone.


    Also Voightlander/Cossina seem to be very dedicated to film as they have continued to refine their cameras and introduce new lenses.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

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