I have both MF and 35mm cameras but want a 35mm rangefinder. I am not interesting in its collector's value; I want a good user with a fast lens. I have suffered recently from 2 bad eBay purachses - one an XA that died shortly after it arrived and now a 14E that I can't open and does seem to be in the same condition as the seller described. Enough of that -
Question: w/o spending a mint. I want to know what good users are out there. I may continue my search for an XA because I could keep it in my briefcase. I do not want to spend the money on a Leica (at this time in my life) but would consider a Contax (through to the G1). Tell me what you like about the RF and what are its shortcomings.
How about the Voiglander Bessa R2. Good lenses. M (Leica) fitting.
Advantage of rangefinder: clear viewfinder makes for better contact with subject matter. Light weight.
Disadvantage: long telelenses are out of the question.
Compact rangefinders: Olympus RC/RD etc. and similar cameras made by Canon (Canonet), Ricoh, Minolta etc. Usually need new lightseals - easy to do-; batteries sometimes no longer available.
I've owned several different compact rangefinders, and would cast a vote for the Canon Canonet QL-17. The glass is fast and sharp, it handles well, and has the wonderful Quick Load feature.
Yes, the batteries are no longer available, but you can get an adaptor at www.criscam.com that allows you to use an easily available silver battery.
Well I went into a Leica dealer - Harrisons in Sheffield (UK) and said I want good workhorse not interested in cosmetics.
I came out with a great M3, with minor dings & marks and has served me well for 15 years. When it hit a tree :-) cracking glass in viewfinder the repair estimate was quite high, however actuallity was well under the estimate as the camera had been well serviced, presumably before I bought it.
I too like the Canon QL 17, but I would prefer a Leica M7 with a Noctilux, if I were a prince.
You're a prince for showing such impeccable taste.
Mine's a FED-2... With FED 50mm/3.5 collapsible lens, and a 21mm/4 I can take off the Bessa-L if I should feel the need to focus precisely.
No meter, but "sunny elevenish" works fine in high latitudes.
I love my Contax G2 to death, though I wish there were a nice 50 f/1.4 for it. The 45 f/2 is a great lens, sharper than the Summicron and FAR less expensive. Check out ContaxG.Com for a lot of great examples of people using that camera. Robert Frank, Wm Eggleston, and Luc Delahaye can't all be wron about them....
I have a Canon G-III too. Nice, quiet, but I'm always concerned I'll break it. Then again it cost $30. :)
Long live "" One Up Manship"
I like the Bessas. I have an R not and R2, as I have L39 lenes and need a self timer, but M and L39 lenes can be used together on the R or R2 via adaptors. The new Zeiss Ikon should be worth a look when it goes on sale. It has a much longer rangefinder base, which should make longer lenes more usable and although it seems likely to be more expensive than the Bessas, it's still going to be way cheaper than a Leica (and you don't have to take it apart to put a film in like a Leica).
Like others, I too still have a soft spot for the Cannon GIII, although I no longer have one. You can't change the lens, but it would fit in a coat pocket and was all but totally silent.