I really like the Konica I rangefinder, it's got a great viewfinder, is built well, and has a nice sharp tessar lens. It's got the camera geek factor on high as well because the lens is collapsible and it says "Made in Occupied Japan" on the bottom. They're realitivly cheap, and you may be able to find one for sale (cough cough) on a link in this message :rolleyes:
Cheap and old, let me mention the Agfa Super Solinette and its twin the Ansco Super Regent.
They feature an unbelieveably sharp, unit focused, f/3.5, 50mm Solinar, which is a Tessar-type lens, a Synchro-Compur shutter with a full range of shutter speeds and the camera folds to fit in your pocket. The Super Regent sells for in the US for as little as $15.00. The down side is they all need their helicoid grease replaced, as the Agfa grease gets pretty stiff with age and there is no built-in meter.
Another couple of pocketable folders, which get passed over, but have a superb Scheider Kreuznach, f/2.0, 50 mm Xenon, is the Kodak Retina IIc and IIIc. These are well under $100 in the US. The IIIc has a built-in meter and is similar to the over-priced IIIC, but with a slightly smaller viewfinder.
Mike Elek's recommendation for the Retina IIS is good one. The IIS has the same large, bright viewfinder as the over priced Retina IIIC, but without the busy framelines for the auxillary 35mm and 80mm focal length lenses. The IIS is a non-folder, without interchangeable lenses, so it does away with the annoying frame lines for the tele and wide-angle lenses.
Having a folder is nice, but the big selling point on the Retinas should be that the Schneider Xenons and Rodenstock Heligons are amazingly good renditions of the Zeiss Planar. Again, you get a Synchro-Compur, which features a full range of shutter speeds from 1/500th to a full second.
Although they may be 50 years old, the above folders match or exceed the later Canonets and Electro 35 compact range finders in image quality. The build quality is first rate. In addition to folding to a size that allows them to fit in your pants pocket, these premium German range finders will never need their light seals replaced or require a difficult to source battery cell, because they didn't use them to begin with.
By the way, the above cameras are manual mode shooters, there is no automatic exposure feature.
Last edited by Solinar; 11-11-2004 at 09:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.
You lot have got me so nostalgic about my once beloved but now long dead Canon GIII QL-17 that I have managed to track down another and am re-discovering why I liked it so much. Thanks everyone.
I picked up a very clean Canon GIII QL-17 at a camera fair in Sydney here today for $50 AUD (About $35 USD) Seems mechanically perfect so I can't wait to try it out....
Seems they are much admired by some on this site.
This is easily fixable and it is cheap. You have lost a light seal on either the hinge end of the film loading door or the end that opens (almost certainly the hinge end). A neoprene replacement seal kit can be bought from Interslice on ebay for $6. It has enough material to do a half-dozen cameras and a very good and thorough set of instructions. I prefer his kits to the ones Micro Tools sells because he uses a type of foam that doesn't degrade over time. It will take about 5 minutes to replace the seal in question and less than an hour to replace all of the door seals. If the one has gone bad, it's a cinch that all the rest have too and you need to do this.
Originally Posted by Snapper
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I have three C-3s. Mine only cost about $5 or less each (ebay). Nothing wrong with the Matchmatic, if you don't mind putting a sticker on top with the equivalent shutter speeds and f-stops for its exposure value scale. The auxilliary lenses are easier to find (and less expensive) for it too. The one to avoid is the Autronic. I think Rube Goldberg must have had a hand in its design. I think there are actually pieces of string and pullys in there.
I bought this camera for $20 (Canadian) and love it. Pocketable, light, very crisp image, easy to see focusing image in the view finder. I don't usually like point and shoot but it does a very good job and has surprised me with some great images in low light conditions without a flash. (38mm 1:2.8 Hexanon lens).
I too endorse the MatchMatic EV system. I got one and a Pentax analog 1 degree Spotmeter about the same time, encouraging me to learn and memorize EV numbers for range of f-stops. I now use it for all kinds of weird situations, like old shutter speed sequence (1/50, 1/100, etc). I hang a luggage tag with a chart on some old folders, but I need to look up the conversion less and less.
For pinhole I find it extremely useful too to have a pre-thunk chart on the back.
The options are many, but first off - cameraseals.com will send you some sticky backed foam that looks like something that you can get at any hardware store... but apparently has better adhesives and stands up to temperatures better, etc. I don't know how true these claims are, but they do work great, take about 20 minutes to do a camera (the long part is removing the old grime)
Now, if you really want to go and buy one..and who doesn't, there is no such thing as too many cameras, especialloy RF's...
My nod goes to a QL17 GIII - you WILL love it, but hush... there is a whole thread bad mouthing them to get the prices down
they are easily found in the sub $50 range in good shape and other than the need for a mercury battery solution (I got the wien cells - works great), they are awesome! Tack sharp, too!
Want even cheaper? My bell&howell Canonet 19 cost me $15 Canadian, shipped I believe. Did not need a damn thing, works great, can double as blun weapon, whats not to love!
Hard to beat the Canonets for value for your dollar, especially given the plentiful selection and easy to find info on all aspects of the cameras. And what appears to be a border line psychotic fan following... yours truly included!
I second the Konica 35 and add that Ricoh also made some very nice small rf's under the name Ricoh 35 (quite a few different models).