Another vote for the Olympus Stylus Epic
Here is my article on that camera
I'm a little late here, but having taken both the XA and the Stylus Epic with me on vacation a couple of months ago, I have to say I'm very disappointed in both - within a day of carrying them around in my pockets, both broke - with the XA, somehow the film winder release button in the bottom got depressed, I didn't notice and wound the film, which has jammed the shutter release (opening the door, which normally pops the release button back, doesn't do anything), and with the Stylus Epic, when I try to take a picture, the lens adjusts as it normally does for the AF, sticks in the outward-most position, the shutter goes off, and then the camera appears to power off (lens still extended, display goes blank), but if you wiggle the clamshell lid it resets temporarily.
Both of these were in my carry-on for the trip there, not dropped, and worked before I left.
I haven't looked very hard yet, I'm hoping the XA might be fixable because I actually quite like the lens quality as well as the automatic +2 EV backlight switch - but I'd think twice about bringing one with me travelling again.
Speaking of small(-sh) rangefinders, I'm considering getting a FED-2 with a collapsible 50mm lens - entirely manual, made of metal but by most accounts not that heavy, and fairly compact with the lens retracted. This also has the advantage of not being terribly expensive and reasonably common, so if one breaks, a replacement is readily available. The only real downsides are a lack of a meter (time to practice Sunny 16!) and limited shutter speeds of 1/30 - 1/500 (but on average I can't handhold well below 1/30 anyway).
Anyway, just my $.02.
Last edited by mabman; 06-13-2007 at 06:38 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: grammar tense correction
I can't remember if I mentioned it already in this thread, but the Kodak Retinas can be pretty small. After some recommendations here I picked up a IIc a month or so back, and it's really compact. Smaller than the Fed-2 + lens option. Very nice lens too, if the first few films are anything to go by.
I'm surprised at the Stylus Epic problem. I've hammered mine over the past year, and it's never caused me a problem.
I've considered a Retina folder - in some respects I'd quite like one as well - quite compact, default 50mm lens has max. aperture of 2.8. However, I've taken a look around and I'm not sure where to buy one that's going to be reliable and/or serviceable. I also own an Agfa Isolette III medium format folder, which was restored by Jurgen Kreckel (aka Certo6), but I don't think he does 35mm folders. All the ones I've found in the last while on the auction site and/or KEH seem to be not completely functional. Also, I'm a little paranoid about leaky bellows, which is why I'd prefer to avoid picking one up from someone not reliable and/or a unit that hasn't been CLA'd first.
On the flip side, there are a plethora (well, OK, a few that I'm aware of) of reasonable-to-very-good known FSU camera dealers/repairmen, so frankly I'm more confident with that purchase.
But, feel free to enlighten me - if I can find a working, reliable Retina folder for a reasonable price I'd certainly consider it.
XA series cameras can be found cheap at garage sales and thrift stores around here- though usually with rotted foam light seals. The John Goodman kits have all you need to fix them and there are instructions on his website. It takes about an hour or so to clean the gunk out, then maybe another 30 minutes to put the new ones in.
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mabman, I just bought mine off a random seller on Ebay. He advertised it as being a bit sluggish on the slow speeds but otherwise good. As it turned out, after a little exercise, the slow speeds on the shutter were just fine, and the camera was otherwise pretty much perfect.
I do use FSU cameras too. I like my Zorki 2c a lot. But the Retina is more compact.
Thanks for sharing your experiences mabman! I have 2 XA's waiting for me at home. I'll have them in my hands on Friday. Hopefully I will not have any issues while I'm on my trip!
I'll have to take a look at the John Goodman kits. Does anyone have a link to his site? Thanks!
Edit: A quick google search and I found... www.kyphoto.com
Seems like the right site!
I bought a Voigtlander VF 101 off eBay. Its a Rollei clone of the Zeiss Ikon Contessa S312. Its very compact and its a classic 1970s era rangefinder camera. A tad on the heavy side but well made and it sports a Color Skopar 2.8f/40 lens. Its a rebadged Carl Zeiss Tessar. The camera is like a brick and feels and looks like a classic rangefinder but its more of a point and shoot. There are no real manual controls, if you want to fiddle with that kind of stuff. But its a great vacation camera and good to for street photography!
I'll second that. Rollei 35s is a superb camera. Buy one with a 35mm 3.5 Tessar lens. I used one regularly in the Alps. Going back to the 70's it was The climbers camera
Originally Posted by jd callow
"Sharpness is a Bourgeois Concept"-H.Cartier-Bresson
Was the Rollei available with a 35mm lens? I stumbled into a 35TE with the collapsible 40mm F3.5 Tessar. The TE has the electronic LED meter. Nice little camera. I have to remember to advance the film before collapsing the lens.