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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Is a canonet a decent introduction to rangefinders?

    I have this thing where I think I need to experience the rangefinder way of working, and I particularly want a Bessa R3 because of the 1:1 viewfinder. However the entry price for a Bessa or used Leica is a thousand dollars or more and that's a lot to me. I was thinking I could get a Canonet for much less money and try that for a while, and if I really liked it, spring for the Bessa or Leica. Suppose I got a Canonet QL19 or QL17, do you think this would serve as a good taste of rangefinders or would it just spoil me on the type of camera, and I really need to experience the higher quality cameras like Leica etc. to know what they are all about?
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2
    BobD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    Suppose I got a Canonet QL19 or QL17, do you think this would serve as a good taste of rangefinders...
    Sure.

    ... or would it just spoil me on the type of camera, and I really need to experience the higher quality cameras like Leica etc. to know what they are all about?
    I see no reason it would spoil anything. Everyone has their preferences and
    some people even prefer other cameras to Leicas, etc.

  3. #3

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    A Canonet would definitely give you a feel for working with a rangefinder. I presume you are used to a SLR (or something else?). I recently started with a Minolta 7s and like the following features very much:

    • Lightweight, small (fits easily into the outer flap of a backpack)

    • Full manual control, no batteries

    • Not too hard to focus

    • Quiet

    If any of these are of concern to you, a Canonet would be suitable.

  4. #4

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    I have a Canonet QL 17 GIII. Love it. It was the first rangefinder I picked up and is still my go-to rangefinder. I've since experimented with a bunch of other fixed lens ones and it is my favorite so far as manual ones go.

    My automatic favorite is an Olympus 35 DC, though my opinion may be biased as it is the first camera I successfully repaired. I love the lens on it though.

  5. #5

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    Note that there is a significant size difference between the original Canonet 17 and the Canonet 17 GIII. If compactness matters to you, be sure you know which one you are picking up.

  6. #6
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I prefer full manual operation. I use an SLR camera now, but I've been wanting a rangefinder for snapping pictures of the kids; I find it hard to focus the SLR fast sometimes.
    f/22 and be there.

  7. #7
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    The Canon QL17 is a great little rangefinder, has full manual option and quite affordable.

  8. #8
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    My first rangefinder is a Konica Auto S2... Not so compact if you compare it to a Canonet QL17 GIII.. its monstrous in size.. But, man, the hexanon lens is amazing.. I was so hooked to it I bought another one.. So i have two.. one for color, one for black and white.. talk about a back up camera.. LOL..

    But yeah, a canonet is a good start to get into RF photography.. dont forget the Olympus 35 SP.. that is one sick RF too..
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  9. #9

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    as you're in texas, why not get the texas leica (fuji). it's got no meter though.

  10. #10
    d.sge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I have this thing where I think I need to experience the rangefinder way of working, and I particularly want a Bessa R3 because of the 1:1 viewfinder. However the entry price for a Bessa or used Leica is a thousand dollars or more and that's a lot to me. I was thinking I could get a Canonet for much less money and try that for a while, and if I really liked it, spring for the Bessa or Leica.
    That's essentially the route I went. Though I have no experience with Canonets and their viewfinders, the Yashica Lynx's VF I started with only served to wet my appetite further for a brighter, contrast-ier one. It proved to be very small taste. So I settled on an R3M and the Yashica has since been relegated to torrential downpours and blizzards. In other words, I rarely use it. In hindsight I'd rather have had the $50 I spent go to the VC kit I eventually selected.

    That said, I'm looking to sell my R3M. While the 1:1: VF is fun, and is what drew me to the camera initially, I'd rather forgo the 1:1 and have plenty of space around the 40mm framelines inside the VF to anticipate and compose my shot. I find the 75mm framelines ideal for that particular camera. The 90mm ones are pretty good, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I prefer full manual operation. I use an SLR camera now, but I've been wanting a rangefinder for snapping pictures of the kids; I find it hard to focus the SLR fast sometimes.
    In general, getting from the MFD to infinity and back is going to be faster for all manual focus rf lenses as compared to slr lenses thanks to a shorter focus throw. I've also found focusing to be much easier with an rf in low light as well, but only if the rf patch is nice and bright.
    Last edited by d.sge; 05-20-2010 at 06:27 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: .
    Daniel.

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