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  1. #1

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    First Rangefinder

    This is my first post so please go easy on me, I'm new to photography but am extremely keen to get stuck in and learn and improve.

    I mainly enjoy street photography and also takin casual pics of friends and family, I've recently had some fun with a HOLGA 120GN and also a Polaroid using some Impossible Project film.

    However I'd now really like to get a Rangefinder and after looking on what seems like thousands of pages I've got a list of vintage and a couple of current rangefinders. I'd love to know peoples thoughts on what one to try and secure and if Ebay is my only option? Also what price is ok to pay?

    • Canonet QL17 GIII
    • Yashica Electro 35 GSN
    • Ricoh 500RF
    • Vivitar 35ES
    • Konica Auto S2
    • Olympus RD
    • Rollei 35SE



    I've then got a Voigtlander Bessa R2A listed but that would be new and would also totally blow my budget!

    Look forward to hearing from you!

  2. #2
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by infinitydreams View Post
    • Canonet QL17 GIII
    • Yashica Electro 35 GSN
    • Ricoh 500RF
    • Vivitar 35ES
    • Konica Auto S2
    • Olympus RD
    • Rollei 35SE
    The Rollei 35SE at least, is not a rangefinder camera. It is zone-focus.

    I've used a Canonet, Auto S2 and Electro 35 and they are very nice cameras. You should be able to find one quite cheap (less than $100 USD.) In my experience since they are not very valuable per se, they are not always in the best condition. Just my experience.
    Those who know, shoot film

  3. #3

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    Are there any good vintage camera shops in the UK where I could go to buy one of the cameras I've listed.

    Also out of my list would you say the Canonet QL17 GIII is the best of the bunch?

  4. #4

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    Good Morning, Infinitydreams,

    With any of the cameras listed, condition of the specific one you get will naturally be an important factor. Repairing and/or refurbishing isn't cost-effective unless you can do it yourself. I have three of them, the Canonet, the Ricoh, and the Konica. My preference is the Konica Auto S2, but I see no reason not to try any of the others.

    Konical

  5. #5

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    The three best cameras on your list are the QL17, Yashica GSN, and the Olympus 35 RD.

    The Canonet QL17 is nice because it has a mechanical shutter which can run without batteries, and it has a very good lens. The drawbacks are that the meter only works with the camera is in automatic mode. And, the automatic mode is shutter-priority, which isn't very intuitive.

    The Yashica GSN arguably has a better lens than the Canonet. The GSN is also easier to use, and is an aperture-priority camera. It's main drawback is that it has an electronic shutter which is automatic only, and it is a rather large and heavy camera. Those things aside, the Yashica GSN is capable of taking superb photos.

    The Olympus RD is a jewel compared to the QL17 or the GSN. It has a wonderful lens, and it also has a mechanical shutter. Unfortunately, it is not an easy camera to find, and it is not cheap.

    A camera which is not on your list, but which is superior to them all is probably the Olympus 35 SP. The SP has an excellent lens, a mechanical shutter, and a spot meter function. The spot meter allows for far more accurate metering than you can get with any other rangefinder camera. I often leave my Leicas at home and grab my SP when I'm going to be shooting in conditions with lots of contrast (sun and shadows). It simply does the job better than anything else of it's type.

    Other good cameras worth considering are the Yashica CC or GX, the Konica C35, or C35 FD, and the Olympus 35 RC.

  6. #6

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    I've actually located an Olympus RD for just over £100 is this too much?

    I've read the Olympus 35's all suffered from sticky issues, is this easy to fix if it happens?

  7. #7
    JRieke's Avatar
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    I have several Yashicas and a handfull of Canonets. I like the Canon for it's parallax compensating view finder, nice small size and ability to go full manual. Having said that though... The Yashica is a better Camera. The metering is really good, I rarely ever have a bad frame in the whole roll that wasn't my fault. The lens is amazing and the viewfinder is huge and easy to see. I carry a camera with me everywhere I go and have over a hundred to choose from but the Yashica is usually the one I have with me.

    Just my two cents
    looking for the battery cover for a early model Canonet QL 17, the round screw in kind.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by infinitydreams View Post
    I've read the Olympus 35's all suffered from sticky issues, is this easy to fix if it happens?
    It requires substantial disassembly - basically you'd need a tech to take it apart and relube it. Assume that will cost an additional 100. If the camera was serviced already at some point, its possible this was dealt with already.

    One little note with the 35RD. The aperture ring almost flush against the body. It isn't the easiest to change. If you shoot primarily automatic this would be fine. If shoot mostly manual, I'd try handling one first to see if the ergonomics will bother you. One in good condition is an excellent camera which produces wonderful results.

    The Minolta 7sII is another good small one. It has a small knob at the bottom to make changing the aperture easier; I prefer the ergonomics though 7sII feels better in my hands (when i'm not changing the aperture )

  9. #9

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    Yashica GSN, the only slight problem is finding a battery for it.

    Jeff

  10. #10
    JRieke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kubach View Post
    Yashica GSN, the only slight problem is finding a battery for it.

    Jeff
    no big deal, buy an adapter off ebay or make one yourself from parts at Lowes. 6V drops right in with no adjustments to the electronics needed.
    looking for the battery cover for a early model Canonet QL 17, the round screw in kind.

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