I like to use both.
I like to use both.
Couldn't imagine shooting <24mm and close-in with a rangefinder vs SLRs.
The camera is a picture taking tool. Depending on what picture you are taking, some tools may be better or easier to use than others. Why limit yourself?
I have and like both. RFs and SLRs both have their advantages and disadvantages, and are different ways of seeing.
As many others have said, I use both. I will carry my Voigtlander RF with me most of the time - it is small enough to do so without much hassle. For specific projects I am likely to use one of my SLRs - Canon or Olympus OM.
As Fotch said, a camera is a tool. You wouldn't restrict yourself to either a screwdriver or a hammer, would you?
Start with an Olympus XA & see if you like it,
You can always get a Leica m, Voigtlander Bessa, or even a Contax G-2, Later.
I hate rangefinders. I only use them when I have to (Graflex Handheld) And much prefer the feel and function of my SLRS (Nikon F, F6)
Thanks for your advice/experience!
I'm no stranger to rangefinders. I tried the XA and hated it. My favorite 35mm cameras right now are my Retina's, but the finders are a little squinty. I've tried a few RF's but none of them have been a real joy to use but I feel that the Leica M's will fix this. I know that cameras are nothing but "lightproof" boxes, but to me, the experience is very different.
I felt that an SLR and RF in this format is a little redundant because they can function similarly for many applications. I know that SLR's are more advantageous for careful composition, macro, and telephoto work, but I have little/no interest in these applications. I do, however, like the idea of affordable bodies and quality glass. I can build a system much more easily. With a RF 1-2 Leica/Zeiss bodies and 1-2 Leica/Zeiss lenses will cost a few grand. But I can build a decent SLR system for much much less.
Money is one thing, but not everything--I don't want to hold on to cameras that I won't use. I have a bunch of cameras that I don't use and that I plan on selling them but I'm not sure how minimal I want to go....however, i think that I'll keep the OM system for a while because letting it go is a little tough. I haven't owned a Leica, so it's possible that I may be dissapointed and warm up to SLR's.
I like you use the Kodak Retinas for rangefinders (Yashicas too). If you ever get the chance try the Retina IIIS and obtain the Schneider 28mm lens. Very sharp and the camera has an extremely quiet shutter. Condition of the camera, of course, will be an issue but with some patience it is worth obtaining.
I also love slrs and will always hold on to my Pentax equipment, but I do find that I have been using rangefinders more often.
msbarnes, I don't really see the advantage of switching from Oly OM to Leica M. Weight and size are pretty similar, SLR is easier to use, you already have it, no need to spend extra money.
The situation would be different if you were starting from scratch but it is not the case.