I have a Chinon 35EE which I love. Incredibly sharp and contrasty lens, accurate meter and it's tiny. I had to replace the light seals on mine and realign the rangefinder but once done, it's been consistently reliable. I believe it's a near identical copy of a number of other Japanese fixed rangefinders, the Konica C35A, etc.
I have a Fed-4 which is probably the camera which gives me the most consistently good photographs. It's ugly and bigger than I'd like but the Industar 61L/D lens is like butter (unlike previous poster) and takes such lovely negatives.
I also ahve a Fuji GS645S which is nice, but the vertical 6x4.5 negative and the fixed lens aren't 100% to my taste. It takes great pictures though, it's just the shooting style/ergonomics are a bit awkward for my use.
The only rangefinder I have now (besides a Mini Speed Graphic) is a Retina IIa. In addition to a bunch of Retina's I've owned in the past, I've owned various Leica and Canon LTM RF's, but keep coming back to the simple Retina with it's 50mm f/2 Xenon. I have a few scale focus medium format folders as well, Zeiss and Zenobia, but they don't see nearly as much use.
Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
To add more...
I love new Mamiya 6 (the version immediately before Mamiya 6MF). I have two of these and this is probably the most useful camera I have used. However, it's not cheap. (It's probably cheap if you compare quality of camera, lens and the price tags on its competitors.)
Taken with M6 with 50mm lens.
In the 35mm world, I use Konica Auto S2. It has great lens and this camera is easy to operate.
Taken with Auto S2 in New Orleans, about this time of the year in 1998.
I should add that both of these images were taken on foggy day (and night). One of the strengths of these optics is very clear, high contrast image, but it's not very obvious in these pictures.
Glad to hear your finances improved enough to buy a Leica
Originally Posted by Denis P.
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I enjoy using rangefinders more than slrs, I don't know why but they just suit me better.
I have several that I use regularly. I uses a couple of Zorkis (4K & 6) and really like them. they both have great viewfinders and feel solid. the 6 is maybe nicer as it's smaller, has strap lugs and is reasonably quiet but it lacks all the speeds the 4 has on offer.
and oh yeah. I love my Jupiter 8!!
I have a couple of Feds too. 3b and 4. My 3b felt the nicest to use out of them all but it has rather bad shutter problems. the 4 gave me problems with film winding. I'd get black strips along the top of the frame as the film pulled up or down as it was winding. I think it is sorting itself out though.
I like the Fed4 it's big and ugly and heavy but it feels solid and reliable.
I've got some pretty good result from the humble I-61 too. I got some pics that had really excellent texture and contrast form that lens but using it in low light I found I just got murky dark photos. In contrast I tested the J-8 on the worst possible day and all my pics came out perfectly!
I also have a Ricoh 500ME. I've always liked Ricohs. They are unspectacular but solid. It's got a nice sharp lens on it and it's small enough to use as a street shooter and kind of not be seen. But I HATE the viewfinder. I really just can't see what I am focusing on. The little diamond rf spot is too small and murky for my liking. So I don't use it. I only use it to line up shots, I focus hyperfocally on it because, well, how else am I supposed to?
Close my eyes an hope for the best!!?
Heh, I've been working - a lot. That's why I didn't have the time to shoot as much as I would like to.
Originally Posted by mejiro
However, one rangefinder that I haven't seen mentioned here, and which definitely deserves mentioning, is a Yashica Lynx 14E (IC).
I have that one, too, and it's a great camera. Unlike its "Electro" cousins, it is fully manual (you control both the aperture and the shutter speed), has a good light meter, and sports an absolutely wonderful lens (45/1.4). Yup, that's f1.4! Perhaps not every bit as good as a Summilux, but a darn good lens!
The camera is a bit on the heavy side, but for the money, it can't be beat.
A lot quieter than a Leica, too
The Ricoh 500G very rarely gets a mention. I used one a couple of years ago. Aperture priority and metered manual. Good quality 40mm f2.8 lens. A good one can be picked up for around £25 or $40 these days.
Full spec here:
Voigtlander Bessa R2A, CV lenses: 25/4, 35/1.7, 50/2.5, 1936 Leica 9cm f4 Elmar
Leica R7, 50/2 Summicron, 90/2.8 Elmarit, 180/3.4 Apo-Telyt-R
I'm not going digital... It's not photography, its computing!
I own 2 M-3 Leicas and a Voightlander "T"
The rangefinder cameras I currently use the most are:
1. Voigtlander T with with 21mm Skopar.
2. Voigtlander Bessa-II
2. Fuji 690-II
3. 2.25 x 3.25 Crown Graphic with various lenses
Everything is analog - even digital :D
Don't forget the Konica Auto S2, very sharp Hexanon lens, big bright paralax adjusted brightline finder. Very usable shooter.