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  1. #11

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    The Olympus RC is a very nice camera. Keep in mind that any Japanese rangefinder from the 1970s will need to have the foam light-blocking seals replaced in the back, unless someone already has done the job.

    Also, most of these cameras used a PX13/625 1.35-volt mercury cell, which is no longer available. Most can now use a zinc-air hearing-aid battery.

    Of the cameras that you mention, I have the Olympus RC and also a Konica C35, another inexpensive 35mm rangefinder.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by srs5694 View Post
    Sclee, I think it might be helpful if you said more about what your priorities are -- your price range, what sort of shooting you want to do, whether or not you'd like to change lenses, whether or not you want a built-in meter or auto-exposure, how portable you want your camera to be, etc. You're getting replies that are all over the board because people are reading their own preferences into your post. It's better to be more specific about what you want so you'll get advice that'll lead you to the camera you want rather than the camera the average thread respondent wants.
    Hi. Thanks for pointing out. I am not even a newbie in APUG but also a newbie in film photography - still on baby learning steps. I am looking for a rangefinder below USD150 with superb quality lens. I am grateful that all of you have been contributing your suggestions and they have been very 'educating' to me. Keep those suggestions coming and please do open my eyes to world of ( the poor's man) rangefinder.

  3. #13

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    sclee
    The Canon should be relatively easy to find for less than $100 I've found some in the $20-$30 range. Replacing the foam is not difficult if you're patient.
    The battery is for the light meter and automatic exposure. If you're going to use the camera totally manually you don't need it but you might want to have an inexpensive light meter.
    I don't remember the difference between th RC & RD but seem to recall that the RC had a slower lens and it was slightly more compact and the RD was a more direct equivalent to the Canon.
    I wasn't excited by the Yashica by the because of the total dependency on the battery
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  4. #14

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    i've used the olympus rc, rd, and xa, konica auto s3, and canonet ql17 giii. i liked the olympus rd the most, though i've heard good things about the yashicas.

  5. #15

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    The sort of small fixed-lens rangefinders that are dominating this discussion (Canonet, etc.) are likely to go for well under $150, and they can take excellent photos. The Canonet series has a reputation for having very good lenses, although I'm not sure I'd apply the word "superb" to those lenses. ("Superb" is a very strong word, so I'm reluctant to use it.) Of these cameras, I'm most familiar with the Canonet, since my mother used one in the 1970s and I own one, although I don't use it a lot.

    As a learning camera, I'm not sure this type is the best tool, since the auto-exposure features can make it too easy to turn off your brain and let the camera make the decisions -- or at least those related to exposure. OTOH, compared to an auto-everything modern camera, a Canonet or similar 1960s/1970s rangefinder is pretty manual. You can also disable the auto-exposure features on the Canonet, and presumably on many similar rangefinders. A limitation of this class that's been alluded to is that they have fixed lenses, so you can't change them for wide-angle or telephoto lenses. This can be limiting, although if you're just starting out, that limitation may not be very important at first -- you'll be learning so much else that adding the variable of lens focal length could just get in the way.

    Most Leicas have interchangeable lenses. So do some other rangefinders, such as Leica clones (Soviet-made FEDs and Zorkis, for instance), Contaxes, and others. These cameras run the gamut from all-manual models without so much as a built-in exposure meter to quite modern designs with lots of amenities. The lower-end models can sell for $150 or less (unless they're rare collectors' editions), but the higher-end models sell for much more than your budget. Leica glass is very well regarded, but you typically pay a lot for that high regard. I'm not sure if an actual Leica in good condition could be had for your budget, but you could certainly get a Leica clone. This would enable you to add Leica lenses in the future if you so desire. In the short term, I think a Canonet or similar 1960s/1970s Japanese fixed-lens rangefinder would probably be easier to use than the sort of interchangeable-lens rangefinder that you can get for under $150, but the interchangeable-lens camera will be more flexible in the long term. Some Leica clones (like the Soviet-made cameras) are likely to be unreliable, although they can take fine photos if you get one that works.

    Others have mentioned the probable need to replace foam light seals in cameras of a certain age. The eBay seller interslice sells a kit with replacement foam, a few simple tools, and instructions for a reasonable price. This isn't exotic stuff, but this seller bundles it together in a convenient package, and the instructions help anybody replace aging foam.

  6. #16

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    A good camera for a start would also be a Minolta CLE with the 40mm Rokkor or Summicron lens - it has a great viewfinder and you can add a 28mm lens later on. As a bonus, it is so tiny, you can carry it with you all the time.

  7. #17
    Kvistgaard's Avatar
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    what about the little Rolleis? SUpposed to have really good optics.
    S°ren

    "We are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than think our way into a new way of acting." - R. Pascale

  8. #18
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    You're upping the ante. A CLE would be great camera, just like a Leica or a Bessa.

    But a Canonet, GSN or GTN, etc will be a tenth of the price, and the negatives will be equally as good.

    Ian

  9. #19

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    Any rangefinder camera with the name Leica on it will generally start at about $250 and then continue to rise. If you get lucky, you'll find one for less, but in general you will pay a more and often a lot more.

    The Rollei 35 cameras can sometimes be found for about $150, and because it's a German camera (made in Germany and later in Singapore), there are no foam seals to replace. The version with the Sonnar seems to be the most collectible, but the Tessar-equipped camera is excellent.

    There will always be stories of people finding a Leica or a Rollei for $10 at a yard sale, but those are the exceptions and not the rule.

  10. #20

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    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

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