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  1. #1

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    Low cost rangefinders...

    Any suggestions, info or quirks to watch for would be very helpful as I have never shot one before.
    The FEDs seem low cost are they a good starter?

  2. #2

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    Well, what's your budget? Do you want a fixed-lens rangefinder or interchangeable lenses? Do you want Japanese, German or other European.

    And is price the most important factor when buying?

    Do you want a meter built into the camera? Autoexposure? Manual exposure? Both?

  3. #3
    vedmak's Avatar
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    Fed, Kiev are an interesting choice, former soviet union cameras could be quite good, I've heard zeiss icon copy named Iskra could be purchased just for a fraction of a cost of brand name camera. Most of those made after 1950, with lenses copied from Zeiss line. Quality is spotty, when picking a camera, it is better get an ugly used one then minty looking because minty looking probably has some kind of problem 8-)

  4. #4
    chuck94022's Avatar
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    I got my Olympus 35RD for $35 a few years back - $1 per mm isn't too bad... :-) It has a nice lens on it, a 40mm 1:1.7 F.Zuiko.

    That's if you want to shoot 35mm of course. It's nice and compact, and quiet too. The batteries are a little difficult to come by, but even if you lose the battery, all you lose is the meter. My "Old Trestle" photo in the gallery was taken with it.
    Last edited by chuck94022; 06-24-2010 at 09:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5

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    Snagged a Retina IIa pretty cheap, if small stuff is your thing.

  6. #6
    JPD
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    I second the Retina suggestion. The IIa is a great little camera, or the IIc which has a better finder if you wear glasses. They have no lightmeters, so a hand held one is a good accessory.
    J. Patric Dahlén

  7. #7
    paulie's Avatar
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    ricoh 500g

  8. #8
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    in terms of modern, full featured rangefinders, the Bessa R series are the way to go. Someday, when I have a real job but still not a millionaire (in which case I would purchase a Leica ), I plan to get a Bessa R3A/M

  9. #9

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    Most of the fixed lens rangefinders from the 70s are good... provided you find one in good condition. elekms questions are good ones. I'd also add 'how important is size' and 'how comfortable are you with doing some repair yourself'.

    I've been on a mad rangefinder buying spree the last few months (if I can find something interesting for under $20, I have a hard time passing i up!).

    My go to rangefinder is still the Canonet 17 GIII. It took me a few tries to find one that wasn't jammed/had a stuck shutter and I had to do some cleaning/rangefinder adjustment when I got it, but the camera is nice. Compact, fast lens, workable meter, etc.

    I like the FED 2 for the interchangeable lens capability, but it is a bigger camera. Not huge by any means, but it isn't quite as compact which does change how and when I use it.

    To be honest, I haven't come across a flat out 'bad' rangefinder from the 60s-70s yet (ignoring broken ones). All of the Olympus rangefinders seem like solid cameras though the 35RD usually has stuck shutter blades which need some work. The Canonet is my default recommendation because they seem so plentiful. The Ricoh 500G mentioned earlier is also nice, as are the Yashica G line (though there again, you are back to nearly SLR size cameras).

    I found this site rather useful: http://www.cameraquest.com/com35s.htm

    Again though, for me, the compact size, image quality and manual control were key features. Your values may be different.

  10. #10

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    How about Konica Auto S2?

    Jeff

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