Affortabilty is based on average pricepoint of the Leica's.. $800.00+. To much for me. Love the chim in for Canon camera's and others. There is just something classic about the way they look. Might be something worth while to put in my arsenal for quick outings and feel confidant they will get good sharp images.
Do you need interchangeable lenses? Have you used a rangefinder?
If you dont know the answer to the first, and you say no to #2 question, drop $25 on any Konica/minolta, whatever- rangefinder (c35 autos2, etc). Try that out, if you just love it after 5 or 10 rolls of film and dont find yourself headed back to your SLR, then start the search for a fancy [$$$] rangefinder. Also remember that the viewfinder will be off when you get away from the normal lenses. Your wallet will also be off when you start in that direction.
Personally, I have tried several cheapos, have a Canon IIF (cheaper RF compared to leica) and a couple lenses for it. I find the canon (a Leica copy) much less appealing than the Auto S2, Konica C35, or Canonet gL17 (or really any camera). I wear glasses, and looking through a 2.9mm x 1.8mm hole for composing is awful compared to a Nikon F3HP finder or a TLR hood. The Canon IIf feels awesome but its a bottom loader, ick. THe Canon also looks awesome but as soon as I finish a test roll its going to auction. A Leica will feel and look awesomer (I have a friends M2 on loan) but I still don't like using it.
I know that super famous photographers used this style of camera and it holds that romance visually as an object, but it does nothing for me as a user. I say all this so that you dont let GAS lead you to a very expensive camera that you wont like without spending some serious time with a cheap rangefinder.
Last edited by trythis; 03-27-2014 at 12:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"If its not broken, I can't afford it."
See http://www.cameraquest.com/com35s.htm for an overview of compact 35mm manual focus cameras (mostly rangefinders) with f/2 or faster lenses.
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Bronica ETRSi, Nikon F3 and FM.
There's an Agfa Karat 36 listed int he classifieds right now. I have no relation to that seller but the Karat 36 is one fine Rangefinder camera. Too bad that one needs rangefinder work.
It's fixed-lens but all the lenses available for that camera, were firecrackers. The Solinar is the less-exotic but super-sharp Tessar variant built for or by Agfa.
It's extremely well built; built to compete with the Retina rangefinders ... and the optics are the same as the Retinas. Fortunately, the Karat is not as well known as the Retina and the prices are much more reasonable.
If you need lens interchangeability, the early Kievs are fantastic and well built with excellent rangefinders that almost never go out of adjustment. Earlier the better with the Kievs. These are of course a little pricey but not nearly as high as a Leica; and a whole lot more user friendly than the early Leica IIIs that cost twice as much.
And of course there's the original Contax II and IIa, which is again more money.
They operate on the same rf principle, with twin windows etc. .
Originally Posted by TheToadMen
But instead of projecting the superimposed images on the viewfinder for you to align, the alignment is done electronically.
And it's very, very accurate.
Most of the complaints you're gonna hear about the autofocus accuracy, is from people not understanding how a single focus point camera works. For instance, someone might try to take a photo of a couple holding hands, point the camera at them and not notice that the focus point lies between the couple'a bodies, aiming at infinity.
Of course the camera will focus at infinity, and if course the photog will think that the camera has an issue, when there's none.
Based on the principle the autofocus on the camera works, it'll either focus dead on, or not focus at all.
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A basic camera may suffice while one is deciding if a rangefinder camera will be a long-term investment. The ultimate use for the images is an important factor. Huge enlargements demand much from both equipment and photographer. Images posted online are more forgiving. Some of the inexpensive fixed lens cameras are capable of fine photos. They may be less durable than professional quality cameras. My personal choice is the Leica M4 bought in 1970 after 17 years of using Leica and other rangefinder cameras. That kit with five lenses sounds expensive, but the cost has been less than the film expended.
My favourite rangefinder cost me £1.04 on Ebay - a Zeiss Ikon Contessa LKE with a Tessar lens. My second favourite rangefinder cost me nearer £20.00 - a Voigtlander Vitomatic II with a Color Skopar lens (a Tessar in disguise).
Second that motion. I recently acquired a '59 Kiev 4a, this is not a carbon copy of the Contax (the baseplate is different and it lacks the stabilising foot) but it's a very well made camera. I had and used a Contax II with a collapsible Sonnar, and the Kiev sounds and feels just like the Contax. The Jupiter 8m behaves like a coated version of the Sonnar. There's little to choose between a good Kiev and the echt Contax, except for cost and the fact that Kievs have x synch. Either will likely need work when you get it, I replaced the shutter ribbons in my Kiev because they were getting frayed (after 55 years) and I didn't want them to fail in service, possibly damaging the shutter. After almost 20 years of using SLRs, I decided to get back into Rfs as a lighter more compact outfit - the Kiev is the system I'll be using. The rangefinders on the Kiev/Contax are the best I've ever seen on a 35mm camera bar none.
Originally Posted by pstake
How about a Retina IIIS http://www.cameraquest.com/ret3s.htm if you want interchageable lenses or a Retina folder if you don't.
For either factor in a CLA by a specialist (like Chris Sherlock in NZ, where I sent my IIIS) http://retinarescue.com/
A good IIIS and lenses is probably circa £/$150 plus say £/$100 for a CLA - something less than a leica, and these are very high quality cameras with superb lenses.
The key thing with the IIIS is there is a "string" connecting the meter to the aperture and shutter speed. Eventually it breaks. Chris replaces it as part of his CLA, but its a pig of a job. the folders, of course, don't have the string but neither do they have interchangeable lenses (there is a sort of pseudo supplementary lens set for the folders, but they are so awkward to use, they are virtually useless)
Otherwise, compur shutters and usually schneider lenses in beautifully engineered bodies. What's not to like :-)
A Bessa R and any of the great FSU lenses would be my recommendation. I love those cameras. Build quality is NOT Leica-like, but they have an excellent meter, are reasonably priced, the shutters go to 1/2000, and the viewfinders are big and bright. Very reliable. Buy this kit and invest in a ton of Tri-X w/ the money you'd save over a Leica.