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  1. #21
    pstake's Avatar
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    Q ... can I recommend that you look at a Minolta Freedom-Tele (aka Minolta Tele AF Super in Europe).

    It does require a CR44 battery and it's autofocus, but it's stupid-cheap and has a phenomenal lens. I got three of them in working order for $20.

    Very simple to use as well, so good for students.

    Quote Originally Posted by q_x View Post
    Darko,
    I'm waiting for Minolta Hi-matic CS to arrive - in terms of cheap rangefinders with good lens it's about as cheap, as I could go.
    I've just sold Oly mju III without many regrets for about the price of this Minolta. It made good photos, but it wasn't what I was looking for.
    We have many cheap rangefinders available in questionable state, most of those are more expensive, than the Zorki was. And for some part of those there's extra problem with mercury cells, that are no longer manufactured. For mint condition or "tested and will work" state the price goes up.

    My students have about 1/4 failure rate due to power problems in their cameras, they either have to charge batteries or lend a camera from their mates - that's within 90 minutes of classes. On a multiday trip I'd rather take what will work without electricity or something weather-sealed, like first Oly AF model, but with a battery easy to purchase on the trail - even fairly modest CR2 is not one of those (though LR44 cell is).

    Now, I spent 25 euros for the camera. It's about half the price they want for Oly XA, Oly mju II or Canonets, and it's not what I'd take with me anyway. Minolta was about half the money. Plasticky, automatic, toy-like. And if it'll break I can't buy crappy part donor, start learning, take it apart and fix. It's broken.

    I have some Japanese gear and I adore it. It is reliable, dependable, but not quite as hardy or serviceable, as FSU rangefinders. Plus still, I can sell my soul for top notch Leica lenses and produce proper results with it.
    Cheers!

  2. #22
    q_x
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    pstake I've been trying Oly mju III 80 last winter. It's "wearther-sealed", smaller, lighter and better equipped than the Minolta (though mine has a bit dimmer lens, not sure about the quality): 11 field AF, AFAIK two separate exposure metering units, spot metering with af lock etc. All I could wish for is better sharpness at the edges and less vignetting, it still beats tessars, but what doesn't nowadays... I've sold it.
    Use the Force, Luke!

  3. #23
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    [QUOTE=ntenny;1498915]That seems shockingly bad to me. A full stop off? Mine both came to me after a CLA (Oleg Khalyavin) and the speeds were spot on. No reason for them not to be, as far as I can tell; the timing mechanism for the fast speeds is really simple, so if they're severely off, either the shutter tension isn't even between the curtains (which would make for uneven exposures across the frame) or something is seriously interfering with the shutter speed rod.

    Did you do your own CLA? If so, I'm curious if you have any guesses as to where the timing problem is coming from.

    Did you measure the shutter speed yourself? I measured the speed as well as the 1st and 2nd curtain travel times. I did clean and lube the camera but I've done so many times. I believe the mechanisms are just worn. When I was working on the cameras, I removed the light shields to see if they were impeding the shutters but it made no difference. On one of my Zorki C cameras I wound up the first curtain as much as possible - knowing that I might break the spring - but it only increased the speed about 1/3 of a stop. Not surprisingly, the curtain travel times are quite slow - more than 2x a 70's SLR. I've never been able to find any specifications for curtain travel time for a Zorki/FED or early Leica.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by limnidytis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    Did you do your own CLA? If so, I'm curious if you have any guesses as to where the timing problem is coming from.
    Did you measure the shutter speed yourself? I measured the speed as well as the 1st and 2nd curtain travel times. I did clean and lube the camera but I've done so many times. I believe the mechanisms are just worn.
    I measured the speed---actually this thread inspired me to dig out my FED-2 and do it again, and even though I'd thought the shutter was messed up after my efforts to adjust the tension, the times were excellent. The thing is, the timing mechanism is just the position of a release pawl on the shutter speed rod, if I remember correctly---the only things that really *can* go wrong (other than pieces being broken off) are shutter tension, rotational speed of that rod, and shutter obstructions. But it sounds like...

    Not surprisingly, the curtain travel times are quite slow - more than 2x a 70's SLR. I've never been able to find any specifications for curtain travel time for a Zorki/FED or early Leica.
    ...that might have to do with the tensioning mechanism itself. I don't know what the travel time specs are---all I've ever done is fiddle with them until the capping problem went away.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  5. #25
    q_x
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    Regarding slow speed - if it's repeatable, and the frames are exposed without any problems, I wouldn't consider it to be a bad thing. A feature. I'd just measure the exposure time precisely...

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    hi q-x

    i hate to suggest this, because i know you specifically asked for advice for 35mm rangefinders with a m39 sort of situation ..
    BUT if you can swing it, why not look for some sort of in expensive folding press sort of 4x5 camera? the lenses are just as inexpensive
    in the FSU as they are everywhere else ... instead of 28,50, 135 you go 90, 150, 210 ... its easy as pie, AND
    instead of film you can shoot cheap photo PAPER.
    After the ohter thread I've started, I consider this to be really wise advice. Thanks a bunch! Graflex may be something in my range, again, in "sort of working condition"

    Cheers!
    Use the Force, Luke!

  6. #26

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    SIP SNIP

    Quote Originally Posted by q_x View Post
    John, those are really expensive. Never mind "per click" cost, I can make less photos with those. The gear to start is 10-20x the price of a rangefinder. I even thought of building 4x5 myself some years ago, and now I'm starting to think again. It can't be that hard to make a point and click camera if I have lens, shutter and film holder made for me


    hi again q_x -

    sorry to hear old school press camera bodies are so expensive where you are.
    i have seen old speed graphic bodies sell for between 50-100$USD and film holders
    for a few dollars each. and photo paper, expired stuff which works BEST for paper negatives ..
    well it is usually give-away or a few pennies a sheet.
    i had said "speed graphic" type camera because they usually have a roller blind shutter as part of
    the camera, so you can use anything that allows light through it as a lens ( junk harvested off box cameras + folders,
    2$ enlarger lenses .. even magnifying glasses or binocular cells ) .
    another inexpensive bigger than 35mm choice might be a kodak ( or similar ) 3a FOLDING CAMERA. sometimes they have
    beautiful lenses ... they took 122 film so you can just tape sheets of photo paper end to end and roll them on a spool
    i've been doing this with a 3a graflex slr for about 2 years and couldn't be happier. a folder is small enough to fit in your pocket
    and the negative is 3.75x5.5" "post card format" ...

    i know this thread is about RANGE FINDER 35MM CAMERAS ... but just in case you hadn't thought of other viable options that might yield
    a great paper negative which is easy to make into a print ...

    have fun!
    john

  7. #27
    q_x
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    As far as rangefinders go, I think the Moskva is in workable condition, so looks Minolta Hi-Matic. I have to go through a roll of film each now to see how unprofessional the lenses are, and check for light leaks and other failures.

    Offtopic or not, I think starting LF on a budget is a great topic on it's own. Moderators may split it if it's desirable.

    Shooting on paper is a great idea, there's a bag of expired paper in the darkroom where I "work", these papers are waiting for an event somewhere around June. I'm pretty much sure I may use some leftovers after the event. I've done some pinhole photos on photo paper few years ago, I know how to work with it. Paper is ortochromatic, which is another great feature.

    Large format camera, used, cheap and in working condition (at least what's needed should work) is hard to find here. Medium format is getting cheaper though, which is a good sign. The market is really small, and importing anything was hard before 1989, so we have very few oldies waiting in our penthouses or attics to be found. Cheapest Graflex I can buy today, with dysfunctional curtain shutter and front part of bellows taped with electrical tape to the plate, is over 200$. Things are getting better month after month, so I'll keep this conversation in mind

    Thanks!
    Use the Force, Luke!

  8. #28
    q_x
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    I think I could pick up a front assembly from an old magnifier. Just let me think a bit more what to do with it
    Use the Force, Luke!

  9. #29
    q_x
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    Just for the record, as you guys are asking:
    Sure, today's Poland was not a part of FSU formally. Major parts of pre-WWII Poland were incorporated directly into Soviet Union, the fact is sometimes forgotten, same as with Poland landing on a piece formerly belonging to German people. We here were "only" occupied by Soviets for 40-something years after Allies and Stalin have settled in Yalta. Puppet government, not much reparations paid, some loans still left to be paid, disaster after disaster. I wanted to explain my situation as easily, as possible, not going into politics and history. Warsaw Pact, or "behind the Iron Curtain" are the correct expressions here. If there's a moderator lurking, please change the phrase "it's FSU territory" into something like "it's almost like a part of FSU", so that there's no doubt.

    So I've got my hands on Zorki C (or rather S) "Festival" edition, with collapsible Industar-22. Working, in good condition, no light leaks, has no major issues, it doesn't even scratch the film as badly, as I'd expect . The lens, well, it's not brilliant, but it collapses. Looks like it was used properly and heavily, but it's holding really well.

    I've been able to make a single test roll out of the three rangefinders: Kiev 4AM with Helios 103, Zorki C with Industar 22 and Minolta Hi-Matic CS with it's fixed lens (38mm Rokkor, possibly Tessar-ish). Looks like every one is a different beast. I still have to make some prints out of those, for now I've only scanned it poorly, so there's little I can say about image quality, apart from the fact, that Minolta looks a bit underexposed (or maybe it's just me to like to have some extra detail in shadows), but it saved at least one shot.
    Minolta is small and adorably pocketable, but I have serious doubts with it's robustness and I still don't like to depend on this kind of light metering.
    Kiev has some excellence factor to it, but otherwise it's clunky and has some loose moments. Maybe it's creme de la creme of FSU rangefinders... Zorki is really what I expect a camera should be for what I do - that's pretty much "sketching", for serious work I have Pentax system with decent SLR and cheap DSLR.

    Just for the record, Moskva 5 also worked without much trouble. Just as expected - slow times need to be taken care of. And I still have to make some prints out of that too (the negatives look great, but it doesn't mean much).
    If I'm looking for a good viewfinder in FSU rangefinder, I guess "auxiliary" is the right answer.

    Cheers!
    Use the Force, Luke!

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