How weird. I did a quick search on ebay for the Olympus XA and as soon as I saw the picture I was taken back to my childhood. I swear I had one of those when I was about 10! What a peculiar sensation. I might have to look into getting one of these. Again!
Originally Posted by phirehouse
Thank you all for the great ideas, there are a couple of extra cameras in there I hadn't come across (and I'm sure there are many more).
I knew about the old mercury battery issue with the Electro and found the converters, but I didn't know the Canonet had a similar issue.
I spotted the Lynx in my searches. I wonder how they compare to the later Electro models? They look slightly bigger. You said the 5000, but what of the other models, rthomas? Any experience?
Oh, and one other thing. Should I be looking at the Olympus XA or the XA2 and is there a difference? The XA appears to be selling for a lot more than the XA2.
XA has user selctable infinite focussing. The RF patch can be a bitch to see at time though. XA2 is zone focussed in four discrete steps.
I think the shutter speed options may be a bit wider on the XA , but can't be sure. I am pretty sure both have backlight compensation. If not , lie to the camera on the film speed for the backlit shots, but don't forget to set it back once you are no longer in that situation.
I have both. They both work well. I tend to keep c-41 int he xa-2, and use the XA to better manipulate the aperture and shutter speed when shooting b&w.
I also have a pair of Minolta 35RC's and they act quite simialrly to the GSN, but with a slower lens, I think.
Standard slow shutter with a dead battery, and a real nimble one that can be quite quick when the battery is in them. Full auto exposure here.
I blank off one half of the old two battery mercury compartment ( one has a short piec of copper water pipe) and feed the other half with a pair of lr44 alkaline button cells to run the meter.
Steer clear of old Petri RF's. They tend to gum up, and are a challenge to maintain, with nothing but intermittent shutter jams for my efforts.
The only Lynx I've used is the 5000e. To me it seems compact, but my regular cameras for a few years were a motorized Nikon F3 and a Mamiya RB67... I would say the 5000e is roughly comparable in size to a Yashica Electro 35 GSN I had years ago, but I don't have them side by side. I always wanted a Lynx 14 with that fast f/1.4 lens - that camera really IS massive. When I had the Electro 35 I always wanted more manual control.
Thanks Mike, rthomas and Tony for those last couple of comments.
I went along to that shop I mentioned in the OP yesterday. The guy had a lot of old cameras but I have to say most were in pretty poor shape. Still, he's a collector only and has a man down the road who specialises in refurbishing them.
First thing I noticed was the Yashica Electro 35 GSN is way too big! I did tell you I was a newbie but I was surprised at how big this thing is. I need something for street photography and if I went for this I may as well cart around my 5Dii.
He had a Electro 35 GX, which was more compact and felt much better. It was still not in great shape though. Although a lot of the grubbiness could be cleaned up the thing that bothered me most was the 'runner' bit that the film presses against (not the back plate, the strip above and below the lens hole) might scratch the film due to a little bit of corrosion. Not sure if the repair man can fix this or not. Also the viewfinder was misty. I imagine the only way of replacing this would be to replace the plastic or glass with new bits, but is this easy? Is it something the repair man could sort out?
He had a couple of Canonets, which I really liked the feel of. Really liked, in fact. One appeared to be working mechanically, whilst the other had a clear viewfinder and was complete. Combining the two might make one really good one, but that would mean buying both.
When I look at the stuff on ebay I wonder if I should wait until I am back in the UK and buy one that is working well, rather than buying a cheap, battered one and getting it repaired. That said, there is something to be said for rescuing these tired little things and bringing them back to their former glory.
Still loving the Olympus XA, of which there are quite a few on ebay, but slightly over my budget. Still open to suggestions and opinions!
Olympus Stylus Epic. You'll lose manual focus, but it's small, light, streamlined, and has a great lens.
I have a couple of these oldish rangefinders (Yashica, Canon, Olympus) and always liked the feel of the Canonet 28 most. It feels solid, and the shutter release seems more reassuring than that of the Yashicas.
Originally Posted by demonboy
It's difficult to predict how a certain camera will work out until you've held/used them. The lowly Canonet 28 pleasantly surprised me with its feel and handling. It's also not a big camera (big as in Yashica GSN). And I like the eveready case, but that's just me, most people seem to hate these things.
My dad took most of my youth pictures with the Canonet 28, so maybe I'm biased. Here is one from 1986, scratched and all. It's a fine camera.
Unless there is a feature you really want, just get one with at least an f2.0 lens, great working condition, and a battery solution that works for you. Many of them used mercury batteries that are no longer available. There are way's around it with hearing aid batteries or modifications to the camera, but you should be aware of it. Something else to consider is an Olympus OM1 (fully manual, mercury battery) or OM2 (aperture priority+manual, available battery). It is as compact as the bigger yashica's and about as compact as an SLR can be.
If you are considering an XA-series camera, it is really, really small, really, really quiet. The downside is that it is really hard to focus and handle. That is the trade off for the pocketability. I've had a few of them over the years as my carry-in-my-bag-all-the-time camera. It is a very unique camera, but I don't think it is a great camera to shoot with regularly.
That photo is wonderful, sandermarijn. Great depth to it. I'll take a peak at the 28. Do you know how it compares to the 17? Is it bigger or smaller?
Another one I've come across is the Oly 35 DC. It's the automatic version of the RD. I know I said I shoot Av but I read one review that said shooting the DC is like shooting in P mode on a digital, which I don't have a problem with when shooting street, especially in fast situations. Any thoughts on the DC? There are a few on ebay at around £50-60 and boy do they look sexy. I've no idea how big they are though. I think I read they're a little smaller than the Canonet 17, which is good enough for me.
I realise I'm going backwards and forwards a little here, but I'm now thinking the XA is a bit too compact and modern for my tastes, especially with Mark's comments in mind. I said as a joke in my OP that I want to look cool. I realise now I wasn't joking, so design is becoming a factor and I particularly like the 60s-70s combination of chrome and black. Call me shallow, but...