Rangefinder Camera - Any recommendation ?
I'm a newbie and I wanna get myself a rangefinder. I can't afford a Leica rangefinder but maybe you all can recommend a few other alternative - something cheaper but with great sharp lens ( or something akin to the sharpness of Leica Minilux's lens ). I have been reading and researching in the internet. Some people have been hailing these rangefinders :-
1)Canon Canonet QL17 GIII
2) Yashica Electro 35 GSN
3) Olympus 35RC
4) Olympus 35RD
Which one is the best ? Or did I miss some other rangefinder that worth mentioning? Please help... Thank you all.
I've read good things about the Voigtlander Bessa R2 and R3.
Or how about a medium format RF like the Mamiya 6 or 7. I am sure you can get them cheaply these days.
Or if you have more money to spare and want something as good but cheaper than a Leica, the Carl Zeiss Ikon is very nice.
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
I bought a Canon Canonet QL17 new, in or around 1968. It was a wonderful little camera, did all I could ask and would still be with me today, except it got submerged whilst with me on a motorcycle in a rainstorm in the 70's.
I don't know what the GIII means, but if it's anything like the straight QL17, then it should be a reasonably good camera.
I enlarged some negs last year from this camera, they weren't too bad, especially considering the condition they have been kept in, and also the way I processed them back then.
IMHO of course, but:
Get a 2nd hand Bessa and a basic Voigtlander lens kit: some of the best available for a very reasonable entry price.
Then expand the lens collection, in time. There is some amazing glass out there in both LTM and M mounts.
Resist the temptation to get a very cheap fixed lens 35mm r/f unless you have a very specific type of photography
in mind. Here Olympus XA are always good value, so are the Canonets: my first 35mm camera was a QL17 and I still have it somewhere.
A 6X4.5 Fuji r/f in good condition is also a tremendous proposition. But the vertical default format can be a shock for those used to the usual 35mm "flat".
Of course flipping the camera around solves that little problem (sounding like captain obvious here...).
I suspect the OP is buying within a certain price range, and has done a little research. All the cameras were excellent camera of their type around the late 60's early 70's.
The Yashica 35 GSN is a superb camera, my sister had one for years, very sharp lens,meter was accurate.As Mick says the Canon QL17 would be equally as good, I can't remember the Olympus model numbers now but they were also highly regarded cameras. There were some minor variations of all these cameras with slight differences on the maximum aperture of the lenses. It's worth getting the faster lens version if you can.
Personally I'd like to try the Canonet QL17, they look nicer than the Yashica.
BTW welcome to APUG sclee
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Voigtlander Bessa R2's and R3's will definitely run you more than a fixed lens rangefinder camera, but you get a whole lot more too. These are cameras that you can stick with for a while, and are still current production - an important consideration if you plan to use it regularly. Canonets, Yashicas, Olympus, et. al., while fine cameras intheir time, are all 30 years old or so. Spare parts are rare and service difficult.
Canonet 1.7 GIII QL
Can't say enough good about it. Have had three. Some of my best shots were through that 40mm 1.7 lens.
Said Film to Digital: "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father..."
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.
I'll try to give a stab at both ends of he price spectrum based on my experiences:
Probably the most inexpensive to obtain is the Yashica Electro series. Semi-auto exposure, but usually quite accurate, and a great, fast lens. For what you'll give for these, you can buy another to replace the occasional dud you run across. Plenty of help on the web to help you fix the dud, if you're so inclined. Should be able to get a working model for $10-20 US. I think these to be a great intro to rangefinder shooting.
For what you'll pay for a new Bessa & glass you can buy a used M series Leica, or at least a late Barnack Leica.....stay away from eBay & go with a reputable dealer like KEH if you're taking the big buck road, it'll probably save some grief in the long run. If you're going to compare lens sharpness to a Leica, the little man in your head will never let you rest until you are squeezing off shots on a Leica.
Try the Yashica to see if rangefinders are for you, then sink in the big money if you like the experience. Worst case scenario: wasted $20. Best case scenario: you've got a back up for your Leica M.
There are affordable Leicas out there. The older
Originally Posted by sclee
"screwmount" Leicas can be purchased with a
good Elmar lens for about $300. They are
awesome cameras -- small, jewellike, with
impeccable mechanics and optics. They will
allow you to mount and shoot some of the best
lenses ever made for a rangefinder -- yet the
basic Elmar is capable of amazing images.
It's a bit more expensive than the cameras you
mention, but well worth the added investment.
See these links for a discussion of the different
types of screwmount Leicas and lenses:
Cameraquest is a good source of information for
all sorts of rangefinder cameras as well.