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  1. #1

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    Dec 2004
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    Recommend me a rangefinder

    I'm looking at getting a camera for street shooting and also candid stuff at BBQ's with my friends etc where an slr is a little bit intimidating. So far I've been using my nikon FM which I love, but it's just a little too bulky, and a bit noisy because of the mirror. I'm undecided whether an rangefinder would be better for me than my FM for what I'd use it for, I'm on a pretty tight budget so I need some advice.

    It must be:

    Cheap second hand, under £80. I expect light seals may need to to be replaced
    Around a 45mm sharp lens, must be faster than f/2, don't care if it's interchangeable or not
    Very quick to use, esp focusing
    Full manual control, possibly with AE but not too bothered
    Appreciably smaller than my FM
    Not a dodgy russian brand (eg FED etc.)

    I tried a Canon GIII QL-17 once and while a nice camera, it wasn't right for me. No DOF scale (not essential but nice to have) but the thing that drove me nuts was the really thin aperture and shutter speed rings. It was just to fiddly and so that made it slow for me to use, I don't think I'd get used to it. I'd rather use my fm and put up with the bulk and noise. I understand that the GIII is on the small side for rangefinders, the only dimension it was really smaller than my FM with 50mm was the lens.

    I guess I'm pretty demanding when it comes to cameras! Any help appreciated.

  2. #2
    BradS's Avatar
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    What about the old Yashica 35's ? They're cheap and have great glass...

  3. #3
    Craig's Avatar
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    Or a Rollei 35? Small and light, cheap on E Bay.

  4. #4
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    Maybe you could look into the Soviet Era range finders. I have a Fed-3 and it takes interchangeable LTM lenses. They generally come with a sharp Industar 50/2.8 lens. They can be had on ebay for about $50. They are in between in size of the Canonet QL you tried and a Leica M. If you want to move up to an Leica M camera in the future you could use the lenses you've accumulated.
    For a faster lens you could pick up the Jupiter-3 50/1.5 for around $50 US.
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
    African proverb

    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy

  5. #5
    eric's Avatar
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    I second the Yashica's. You can get a GSN cheap. And a piece of plastic, a modern battery, and you are set!

  6. #6
    mikeg's Avatar
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    I've got a Yashica Electro 35GSN. It matches most of your requirements, it's very quiet, excellent ultra-sharp f1.7 45mm lens, aperture priority. It's not that small or light though. On mine the light seals are just starting to go, but it's a very nice camera. See www.yashica-guy.com for loads of info on them. I used it to see if I really did like RFs as I was hankering after a Leica. In the end I got a Bessa R2.
    Yashica's usually go for much less than 80 pounds. In fact, now I've got the R2 I'm hardly using mine so I'll be putting it on eBay after half term next week. pm me if you want to try it out.

    Cheers

    Mike

  7. #7

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    I think it's hard to beat a Canonet QL-17. Great ergonomics, sharp glass, cool lookin'. I love mine.
    "If You Push Something Hard Enough, It Will fall over" - Fudd's First Law of Opposition

  8. #8

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    You guys are missing good stuff. Konica Auto S2. It has 45mm f/1.8. APerture ring is a bit narrow but it is certainly good enough for blind operation. Shutter ring is wider. It has lock needle auto aperture mode (shutter priority) in addition to full manual. Meter is visible from viewfinder as well as on the top panel.

    I definitely prefer Auto S2 over Minolta Hi-Matic S2, or Canonet QL 17 type.

    Look for ones with good rangefinder superimposing image. Quite a few are faded. Sticky shutter is common but they can be cleaned easily. Definitely avoid anything that has winding problem.

    Other than this, I'd use Konica Hexar (original black AF), Ricoh GR-1V, etc. but these are probably not what you are looking for.

  9. #9
    eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryuji
    You guys are missing good stuff. Konica Auto S2.
    I don't have one but I'm on the Konica list (slr and rangefinder). What I hear is good about the S2 is that it works without batteries.

  10. #10

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    Good Evening, M Liddell,

    I just purchased a Konica Auto S2 (E-Bay--$15.00!). I've only used it for one roll of film, but, so far, I think Ryugi's comments on it are exactly right. I haven't been bothered at all by the idiosyncracies of the Canonet G-III, but I think I may end up liking the S2 better.

    Konical

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