Having a hard time deciding on a rangefinder
So I'm basically looking at picking up a rangefinder for walkaround use since all my SLR and DSLR gear is just too bulky. And now that I'm in college I no longer have access to my dads Leica M6.
So basically I'm down to these two choices:
Either one will be paired with a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4.
Now what makes this choice hard is the price. Even if I order the Zeiss off eBay (which actually is quite a bit cheaper) it's still a lot more expensive than the Voigtlander. And as a college student the more money in my pocket the better.
So should I suck it up and get the Zeiss for some of it's benefits like more accurate focusing or will be Voigtlander be sufficient?
More accurate focusing with a f/1.4 lens *is* pretty important....
Of course there'll be posts telling you that if you always use the lens at f/5.6 or less, that won't be a problem! ;-)
M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa
Between those two, for the use you describe, I'd probably go for the Voigtlander and more money in my pocket for film and hamburgers.
But what I'd personally go for would be a Leica M2 and a professional service. It is better made than either of the other two, and will cost about as much as the Bessa. This is a camera that will last you for life, and with which very few sacrifices were made in quality when it was constructed.
Of course, something brand new does have great appeal sometimes. However, if these choices are all about having an in-camera meter, I would say that you will get much better results with a convenient hand held incident meter like the Sekonic Studio Deluxe or L-308 than you will with any in-camera meter. I'd personally prefer that most cameras did not have meters, if it made them a bit cheaper! But wait! It does make them cheaper! Take, for example, the Leica M2.......
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
Spend your money on film, not a more expensive camera. Making photographs is what counts, not what you hang off your shoulder.
Here is another vote for the M2. I too use a hand held meter. The M2, paired with the 35/1.4 will make you very happy. It is well worth the money and will last you a long time. (Probably better than your dad's M6).
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OK, I may get flamed for this,but have you considered any of the FSU RFs out there? Don't get me wrong, if I had the $$$$ I would love to own a Leica, specialy an M2, but being just a working stiff, and trying to pay my bills, that's just not going to happen. How ever I do own a small stable of some fine FSUs that I consistantly get excelent results from. I have a FED 2, which is a very stylish blue, 2 Zorkis (a 4, and a 4k), and a Kiev 4. The FEDs, and Zorkis both take 30mm LM lenses so the glass for one its the others. Nice feature that allows me to have one body with a wide angle, and one with a prime, ar short telephoto. I know there is alot of talk about the "questionable" workmanship with these cameras (hey they were made by convicts at one plant), but I have been lucky in that I've never had any problems with any of them. The Industar, Jupiter, and Orion lenses always amaze me with their crispness, and great contrast. I have seen some fins color work from them too, but I only shoot B&W. Take a look on the "bay", and you'll find some of these little beauties for a fraction of what you'll see the Germans going for. Look for a reputable seller with great feedback, and lots of sales. I would suggest The Zorki 4k, as it has a thumb film advance, and handles pretty much as a Leica does. Also, if you do go the FSU route, be sure to do as much research as you can. They all have their own interesting, and sometimes annoying little quirks, but once you get used to them, they really are quite endearing cameras. Oh yeah, the FEDS, and some of the Zorkis come in many fashonable colors too.
You do not mention a budget, shooting style or subjects interest. But, I'll go out on a limb and suggest that rather than blow big bucks for a college camera look for a vintage camera in good condition. It need not be in collector condition. Some of the older European makers had excellent glass on the front end and even today they are excellent shooters. Many use a near bullet proof leaf shutter that at most needs a decent cleaning and lube to bring back. Depending on the layout, they can be a folder or fixed front and may include a rangefinder, either coupled or noncoupled.
It is amazing just how good a bargain they are and many for less than the cost of a half dozen rolls of film and processing the total cost including servicing can be had. With a little looking at the thrift stores many can be found in the $5 bin along with those plastic junkers.
Two favorites of mine include the Contina II, a folder with a Novar lens and a Vito B with the Color-Skopar. These both are built to hammer nails with and feel so wonderful in the hand. Flash is up to 1/500th as they are leaf shutters so fill flash is so much easier. I happen to have both and when going out I used to grab one of them as often as either my Bronica or Leica. The Contina II folded fits so in a jacket pocket and it has a noncoupled rangefinder. Either use the Sunny 16 rule (very easy to master) or pick up an inexpensive light meter, something like a Pilot can be had for about the price of a pack of cigarettes.
Now, for some real fun, look for an Argus C3 with the auxilary lenses or the late interations. These American icons are so basic but include a coupled rangefinder and with the 3 lenses are actually quite decent and once you learn the character of them they can produce very good results. While the Russian cameras may be chique, they are not as reliable so they are more of a crapshoot.
If you opt for the Bessa, consider buying from Camera Quest or Photo Village instead of B&H. That'll save you $50 from the get go.
If you're willing to sacrifice a few degrees in magnification, there's always the R3*/40mm combo. It's got a longer EBL than the R2* and the 40mm is about $150 cheaper despite the similar design.
Last edited by d.sge; 10-26-2010 at 02:03 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: I found the suffix I was looking for.
Another vote for the M2 and an external meter...with a 35m lens it's a classic combo.
I sent you a PM. Save your money for film and glass.