Zorki 4 or Minolta 7s (for first rangefinder)
The title states what my question. I have the opportunity to get either or for 65 dollars +shipping. Except i will have to pay for a cla on the zorki 4. What would be better to go with for my first rangefinder? If i need to include anything more specific about what i do with photography or anything really, please say so. But i would like to get some opinions. Thanks guys.
As it happens, these were my two first rangefinders (well, the 7s and a Mir, which is a Zorki-4 without the slow speeds). Both are good, but they're very different cameras in use.
The Zorki has the virtue of interchangeable lenses, the clumsiness of knob wind and rewind, usually seems to come with a Sonnar clone that can be quite good but doesn't make anybody's "best lenses in the known world" list, has the ineffable smell of a Soviet rangefinder, has no auto-anything, and might break in interesting ways. I've seen the word "agricultural" used to describe its mechanics.
The Minolta is really at home in auto mode, a bit fiddly to use the manual settings on, has an extremely bright viewfinder but a focussing ring that I always found a little awkward, meters *extremely* well even in low light, has a dead-sharp lens that can be a little "clinical" (nice color rendition though), has a certain "mushiness" in the controls that's hard to explain, and doesn't smell like anything. My first one experienced an electronic sudden death without warning, costing me what I believe to have been a really nice roll of slides---however, it had served me well enough that I went out and got another (which I believe is still in use in the hands of the friend to whom I eventually gave it).
The 7s was a *great* travel camera, which is mostly what I used it for when I was travelling a lot for work. In a lot of ways it was less "involving" to use than the Mir is, though---it's a really good automatic transmission, whereas the Mir is a somewhat cranky stick shift.
 I once walked into a Ukrainian cow-orker's office carrying my Mir in its leather case; he immediately grabbed it and buried his nose in it, then explained that for him it was the smell of childhood. I can see how that distinctive smell, once learned, would never leave you.
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 you are buying any used camera, or a any shutter ... ( a zorki, minolta, leica, rollei pentax, ... rapax, betax, alphax copal &C )
expect that you will need to cla them all ...
unless the person selling it / them has a receipt that states it was just cla'd ...
chances are both the zorki + minolta will need to be cleaned, adjusted and lubricated
so they can give you years of trouble free use
have fun ( and good luck ! )
It appears that i will prefer the zorki to the minolta. I don't use auto settings ever, and i'm not so sure im keen on the idea of having a fixed lens, i like to have a variety of ways i can shoot the same subject. I also want to start learning to guess exposure , and will use a handheld light meter at times. I also like how the zorki is pretty much entirely mechanical. Thanks, i'm 100% sure of what i want to get now.
I am buying one from a member. jnanian actually haha. i'm just waiting until i have a little more cash and then im going for it. I can't wait to start shooting with it.
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