That is great feedback, thank you everyone.
I'll probably pick up a FED 2 to try but it will be a lower priority purchase instead of something I go out of my way to buy. I think I was fishing for something that let me justify purchasing one now instead of waiting for one to show up here or on RFF. I seem to be collecting a lot of rangefinders but I want to be sure they're ones I'll use frequently. I'll hold off on buying one until I can also pick up either a J9 or J12.
...I just found a reasonable deal on a J12. Opps.
[QUOTE=mgb74;1009197]I have a FED2, Zorki4, Canon GIII, and Minolta 7s. Advantages of a FSU over a compact RF are:
Interchangeable lenses (as you stated) - but how many FSU owners have more than 1 lens
Makes you look like a real photographer - "Is that a Leica?"
Easy to repair - not only easier but you get more practice
Better in a street fight - Would you rather be swinging a Zorki or a Canonet?
In a street fight I would prefer an Omega 100: larger, heavier and with sticky out knobs that could do extra damage, and still take photographs afterwards.
35mm Nikon F
35mm RF argus C3, wicked corners
David "pacifist photographer" Chorley
I think my choice for a street fight would be the Newton Speed-Vue 4x5 I borrowed a few months ago. I wish I'd thought to weigh it while I had it; it's a whopping hunk of cast metal, heavy enough to be uncomfortable to carry around by the convenient built-in handle. Nice camera, on the whole, but it handles like it was built for King Kong's personal use!
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
If it's any help in your quest Brian, I recently picked up a FED 2 for £8 on the bay with a rather used I26m lens. I already had an I61 L/D, J8 and J12 (used with a couple of Zorki 4 bodies) and the FED 2 body worked perfectly.
They can be picked up occasionally for next to nothing and if you get a dud, just look up another and use the dud for spares.
I also use a 35RC, 35SP, a variety of Yashica RFs and a Super Isolette but I have a soft spot for the Russians...!
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Brian, have a look at a Zorki 6 perhaps, lever wind and hinged back, wide base with very good patch.
Generally i have found the Zorki speed adjustments hard to use compared to either Keiv or Fed. Contax mount lens seem to be lower priced than LTM. Fed2 is generally regarded as one of the most reliable.
I actually looked at the FED 2, Zorki 6, and Zorki 4k. From past experience, I know I am more likely to use smaller cameras (even if the size difference isn't huge ie Canonet QL 17 GIII over the Lynx 14) so I figured the FED 2 was a better bet. I would've considered one of the earlier cameras but didn't really want to deal with bottom loading and the split viewfinder/rangefinder.
In the end, the FED 2 is the only camera from the line that I've actually held which was also a big factor. I have one on the way now from Bob Eskridge. This will be my first interchangeable lens rangefinder; hopefully the J12/I61 L/D pair will be enough make the camera stand out relative to my other rangefinders.
I have a FED-2 and a Kiev-IV. While I think the Kiev is a better build camera, I usually default to the FED because I have an Orion-15 28mm lens for it.
The only Orion-15 in a Kiev mount I've ever seen go by on the bay was too pricey for my taste.
I like both FSU and "modern" Japanese RFs. My FED-2 (two of them) have been leagues more reliable. The viewfinder is not as nice as that of a, for example, Minolta Hi-Matic 9... but it's not that much worse. And it doesn't break down on a regular basis, as the fiddly leaf-shutter fixed-lens semi-auto 1970s RFs seem to. The FED-2 has much more natural manual controls than almost all of the fixed-lens options (for me). I also like the rendering of an old Industar better than the various Minolta/Olympus/etc. lenses for most subjects (especially people).
I have a Zorky4 and 2 or 3 Industars, but I prefer the rendering of my Olympus lenses; even though I like the Rusians too.