Affordable walk-around rangefinder?
I've been playing with my Olympus XAs for about a week now, and several rolls in, I am really growing to love these things. While the image quality is great for such a small camera, I'm looking for "more" now.
I'm looking for a rangefinder that will match the image quality of my Canon A-1 SLR. Something that is affordable, easy to find, and easy to service would be a huge bonus as well.
Doesn't have to be a Canon per se, but I've been really pleased with my Canon cameras, so I thought I'd look there first.
All suggestions are welcome!
How could you go wrong with a rapid omega?
Originally Posted by jasonjoo
As you will soon realize - you have opened up the proverbial "can of worms"!
Now, as they squiggle all over the floor - you will have to try and find them and put them back into the can!
For, you see, there are a hundredfold as many recommendations for RF cameras are there are RF cameras to be recommended!
Last edited by copake_ham; 06-27-2007 at 09:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Fed 3 + Jupiter 12 (Fed/Zorki mount), or a Fed 3 + Industar 61.
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You need to define "affordable."
To some people, that's less than $150. To others, it's less than $50.
There are a huge number of possibilities out there, from the modest Argus C-3 (certainly affordable) to the Japanese rangefinders of the 1970s to classic Leicas and Contaxes (some consider them to be affordable).
Some time ago a friend gave me a Konica Auto S2. I didn't think much of it at the time until I ran a couple rolls of film through the thing. The camera delivers spectacular images, almost equal in quality (maybe better) to the images I get from my 50mm f/1.8 AI Nikkor. It's a fixed lens camera, if that matters, but the meter works fine with currently available batteries.
I do believe I opened up a "can of worms." I've also purchased a Polaroid model 440 and easily spent $60 dollars just today on pack film!
The XA is a great pocket camera, but I'm wanting more in terms of image quality and control.
As for my budget, I'm thinking within the $100-200 dollar range.
Oh, well that changes everything.
Now, the next question you must ask yourself is whether you want German or Japanese, plastic or paper ... uh, metal, I mean (little joke there).
If you go the German and classic route, you could look at some camera from the 1950s ... possibly a Zeiss Ikon folding Contessa, a Kodak (Nagel) Retina or for a bit less an Agfa Super Solinette or Vito III (or Prominent, if you want to torture yourself).
On the Japanese side, you have the Konica I, II and III with the III being a superb camera, although somewhat/very heavy.
There's a sizable number of Japanese fixed-lens rangefinders from the 1960s and 1970s from Ricoh, Petri, Fuji, Olympus, Canon, Minolta and others. A favorite is the Olympus 35RC -- small, great lens and with a shutter speed dial on the top deck.
The Canon Canonet and the Minolta Hi-Matics are popular, as well.
The interchangeable lens cameras tend to be pricier and probably more than you want to spend at this moment. Everyone has a tale about the flea market find for $5, but those are the exception and not the rule.
There also is a lot of Soviet gear, however you probably want to be assured that it works out of the box.
Most older Japanese cameras will need to have their light seals replaced (except the Konica I, II and III) and possibly serviced, and nearly all older German cameras will need to be serviced. There are some re-sellers on eBay who buy eBay cameras, service and flip them back onto eBay.
Are you looking for something more recent? Do you want a rigid-front camera? A folding camera? German? Japanese?
So many choices, which is a good thing, by the way.
Lately, I've been playing around with a 1960s Foca Sport II rangefinder. Great camera. It's from France.
If you don't mind scale focusing, the Retinette's can be nice, and often much less than your budget (see my avatar).